UPDATE: Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach the 4-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 145th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) has been scratched due to an entrapped epiglottis, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.
The epiglottis is a triangular-shaped cartilage that lies at the base of the airway just in front of the arytenoid cartilages which cover the airway during swallowing. When an abnormality occurs in this area it can hinder the performance of horses.
“We can’t fix it this week so we’ll have to have a procedure done in a few days and probably be out of training for three weeks. We’ll have to figure out a whole new game plan,” Mandella said.
With the scratch of Omaha Beach positions and odds have been updated. Any bets placed on Omaha Beach will be refunded.
The winner of the 145th Kentucky Derby will earn a $1,860,000 check from the race that is scheduled as the 12th Saturday with a 6:50 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. First post time for Saturday’s 14-race program is 10:30 a.m.
Six jockeys have won the Kentucky Derby in consecutive years with the most recent being Victor Espinoza in 2014-15 on California Chrome and American Pharoah.
Topping the Baffert trio is three-time Grade I winner and champion 2-year-old of 2018 Game Winner who is the 5-1 second choice on the morning line.
Owned by Gary and Mary West, Game Winner capped a perfect 2018 campaign with a 2 ¼-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Churchill Downs. He also won the Del Mar Futurity (GI) and American Pharoah (GI) last year.
In 2019, Game Winner was beaten a nose by Omaha Beach in the Rebel and second to stablemate Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby (GI). Joel Rosario, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby on Orb, has the mount on Game Winner who will break from post position 16.
Speedway Stable’s Roadster has won three of four career starts with his only setback coming to Game Winner in the Del Mar Futurity. Florent Geroux will be aboard Saturday and break from post position 17.
Baffert’s third entrant is WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing’s Improbable, who, like Roadster, is 6-1 on the morning line and co-third choices.
Winner of all three 2018 starts that included a victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) as well as the Street Sense here during Breeders’ Cup Weekend, Improbable was runner-up to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount and will break from post position five.
With a victory Saturday, Baffert would tie Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby triumphs with six and become the first trainer to win the race in consecutive years twice. His first two Derby victories came with Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998.
A win by Improbable would give his ownership consecutive Derby victories, a feat that has been accomplished four times and most recently by Meadow Stable in 1972-73 with Riva Ridgeand Secretariat.
Gary and Mary West also own the race’s other Grade I winner in the undefeated Maximum Security.
Trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security ran his undefeated streak to four with a front-running victory in the Florida Derby (GI). Luis Saez, who was aboard for that score, has the mount Saturday and will break from post position seven.
In addition to Baffert, two other trainers will be attempting to add to their Kentucky Derby victory totals.
Shug McGaughey, who trained 2013 Derby winner Orb, will send out William S. Farish’s Code of Honor, who was third in the Florida Derby in his most recent start.
John Velazquez, a two-time Derby winner, will ride Code of Honor and break from post position 13. Velazquez won with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017.
Always Dreaming was trained by Todd Pletcher, who will seek his third Derby victory when he sends out the duo of Cutting Humor and Spinoff. Pletcher also won in 2010 with Super Saver.
Cutting Humor, owned by Starlight Racing, comes into Saturday’s race off a victory in the Sunland Park Derby (GIII). Corey Lanerie has the mount and will break from post position 10.
Wertheimer et Frere’s Spinoff, runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (GII), will be ridden by Manny Franco and break from post position 19.
Lending an international presence to this year’s race is Japanese invitee Master Fencer (JPN). Owned by Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa and trained by Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer has won two of four starts on the dirt and comes to Churchill Downs after spending his first few days in North America training at Keeneland.Julien Leparoux has the mount.
With the scratch of Omaha Beach, Bodexpress will draw into the #KyDerby field and break from post position 20.
All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.
Click on the horse’s name to learn more and watch video of the horse’s workout. Courtesy of the courier-journal.com
1. War of Will
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: War of Will
Latest Odds: 15-1
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Latest Odds: 20-1
Trainer: Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: By My Standards
Trainer: Peter Miller
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Improbable
Trainer: George Weaver
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Vekoma
Trainer: Jason Servis
Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Tacitus
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Plus Que Parfait
10. Cutting Humor
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
12. Omaha Beach scratched
12. Code of Honor
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Jockey: John Velazquez
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Code of Honor
13. Win Win Win
Trainer: Michael Trombetta
Jockey: Julian Pimentel
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Win Win Win
14. Master Fencer
Trainer: Japanese qualifier, Koichi Tsunoda
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
15. Game Winner
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Florent Geroux
17. Long Range Toddy
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Jon Court
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Long Range Toddy
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Manny Franco
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Spinoff
19. Country House
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Watch: Kentucky Derby 2019 workouts: Country House
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Jockey: Chris Landeros
QUOTES FROM THE KENTUCKY DERBY DRAW (pre-Omaha Beach scratch)
Mark Casse (War of Will) – “You know what, it could be worse I think. Our horse is really on his game so he’ll come away from there running. We’ll probably be on the lead. I think we’ll probably be on the lead and play catch me if you can. And you know if we come away from there like he normally does, we’re going to come away from there running. At least we have the shortest way around. I’ve thought I had great draws before and gotten wiped out so maybe this is the change.”
Danny Gargan (Tax) – “I wanted to be on the inside. He’s been in the one hole three times with two wins and a second. He has tactical speed. Now we won’t have to use him much to lay fourth or fifth in the race. I like the horse inside us [War of Will] because he’s a speed horse. Hopefully, he goes. I want to tuck in behind him and sit on the rail. If he doesn’t go, I’m going to come out running and sit on the rail.”
Bret Calhoun (By My Standards) – “Gabe (jockey Gabriel Saez) said he wanted somewhere between post five and 12. We drew three but it is close enough. I’m glad we didn’t draw the rail or post 20.”
Peter Miller (Gray Magician) – “It shouldn’t be a problem. We plan on taking back early.”
Bob Baffert (Game Winner; Improbable; Roadster,) – “They’ll all be easy to watch. With Roadster I wanted the 16 so I got 16 and 17 (with Game Winner) and Improbable is a quicker horse. Anything but the one or two I’m fine with that. I think the good horses all drew well.”
George Weaver (Vekoma) – “This is a perfect spot. We wanted somewhere between post five and 10 and we got a great spot. I’m happy to be back in Louisville.”
Jason Servis (Maximum Security, post 7, 10-1) – Trainer was driving to Louisville and unavailable for comment.
Bill Mott (Country House, post 20, 30-1; Tacitus, post 8, 10-1) – “I was hoping for the middle and that’s what we got. I’ve no complaints (for Tacitus). “Twenty should be fine for (Country House). He’s going to come from far back.
Brendan Walsh (Plus Que Parfait) – “I wanted something between two and 12, which I said earlier this week, and that’s what we got. Hopefully, he breaks and then can save some ground. It looks like the speed is inside of us, so that’s good. I’m happy with the post.”
Todd Pletcher (Cutting Humor, Spinoff, ) – “I’m satisfied with both. I don’t mind being outside with Spinoff since he hasn’t experienced a lot of kickback. And with Cutting Humor from the 10, Corey (jockey Corey Lanerie) should have plenty of options. Neither should have to spend a lot of time in the gate, too.”
Kiaran McLaughlin (Haikal) – “He loads first, which is the only negative, but otherwise it’s a great post.”
Shug McGaughey (Code of Honor) – “It’s perfect for me. I was hoping for something toward the outside. I think they load from the inside out. I just didn’t want to be buried down on the inside. It’s perfect.”
Koichi Tsunoda (Master Fencer) – “We are lucky not to have the 20. Horses have won from the outside gate. We are happy to be in the race. The (post position) is good.”
Mike Trombetta (Win Win Win) – “It was a lot less pressure this year than 2006 when we were the favorite Sweetnorthernsaint. We had so many cameras and media around us that it’s a little bit, but not much, more relaxing this year. I’m happy with our post. We’re ready to go.”
Willis Horton (owner, Long Range Toddy) – “It wasn’t what I wanted, but it will be all right. He has enough tactical speed out of the gate. As long as he breaks good, he’ll have a quarter mile until the first turn to get himself into position. We’ll probably be sitting right behind the speed.”
Churchill Downs will conduct the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4, 2019.
Grammy® Award-winning country music superstar Jennifer Nettles will sing the national anthem and will also be a guest of the world-famous Barnstable Brown Derby Eve Gala.
Nettle’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be broadcast live on NBC and take place in front of approximately 160,000 fans attending the 2019 Kentucky Derby. It will take place in the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle just after 5:00 PM EDT, immediately prior to the historic race.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track.