Updated: Omaha Beach To Skip Churchill Downs’ Ack Ack Stakes

(Omaha Beach caught in the morning fog before this year’s KY Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Editor’s Note:

This was reported, via Twitter this morning, that Omaha Beach — the favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby — will not be shipped to Kentucky for the G3 Ack Ack Stakes, to be run at Churchill Downs next Saturday.

The colt, who won the Arkansas Derby and looked like a world-beater leading up to the “Run for the Roses,” was scratched from the KY Derby when it was discovered that he suffered from an entrapped epiglottis.

Throat surgery was performed and the colt has been back in training with friend/ally Richard Mandella since. But the 3YO superstar has not yet returned to the race.

Will be interesting to see where Fox Hill Farm’s Kentucky Derby (Grade I) morning line favorite Omaha Beach goes next.

The following horses are probable to enter the one-mile Ack Ack, according to Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork: Air Strike (trainer Phil D’Amato); Mr. Darcy (Angel Montano); Mr. Jagermeister (Valerie Lund); Omaha Beach (Mandella); and Thirstforlife (Wes Hawley).

Entries will be drawn Wednesday.

OUTSIDE DRAW ‘PERFECT FOR COVFEFE IN DOGWOOD – The last time LNJ FoxwoodsCovfefe competed at Churchill Downs, she was on the inside of a very contentious pace battle with Mia Mischief in the $120,000 Roxelana. Now, the speedy Grade I-winning filly will find herself on the outside of a compact field of 3-year-olds and her jockey Shaun Bridgmohan and trainer Brad Cox could not be more pleased about the draw.

“We know she has all the talent in the world but it’ll be a lot easier this time that she’s not battling from the rail,” Bridgmohan said.

In Wednesday’s post-position draw for the Dogwood, the final two positions drawn were posts 1 and 6. Pill 1 was pulled for Bell’s the One while Covfefe drew post 6.

“We saw in the Test she doesn’t have to be on the lead,” Cox said. “She’s naturally fast and if the speed goes from the inside, Shaun could see how it develops from the outside.”

One of the likely pacesetters with Covfefe in the race could be Sheffer Racing’s allowance winner Take Charge Angel, who battled on the lead in a first-level allowance race in June at Churchill Downs to win by three-quarters of a length. The daughter of Will Take Charge has a Brisnet Pace Rating of E 6 and average early pace rating of a 94, which is five points behind Covfefe.

Cox is a scheduled guest on “Inside Churchill Downs” Friday at 6:15 p.m. (all times Eastern) to discuss Covfefe along with the numerous stakes contenders in his barn. The one-hour program will air from 6-7 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7 and online at www.espnlouisville.com.

The field for the Dogwood in order of post position (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Bell’s the One (Corey Lanerie, Neil Pessin, 8-1); Take Charge Angel (Brian Hernandez Jr., Ben Colebrook, 9-2); Free Cover (Robby Albarado, Bret Calhoun, 12-1); Istan Council (Chantal Sutherland, Larry Jones, 10-1); Champagne Anyone (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes, 4-1); and Covfefe (Shaun Bridgmohan, Brad Cox.).

The Dogwood is carded as Race 10 with a post time of 5:26 p.m. First post will get underway at 12:45 p.m.

STAKES PROBABLES – A trio of stakes events will headline the Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser program next Saturday at Churchill Downs. The following are the probable entrants according to Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork:

$250,000 Lukas Classic Presented by Budweiser: Big Dollar Bill (trainer Ian Wilkes); Kukulkan (MEX) (Fausto Gutierrez); Pioneer Spirit (Brad Cox); Quip (RodolpheBrisset); Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun); Sir Anthony (Anthony Mitchell); and Timeline(Steve Asmussen).

$150,000 Ack Ack Presented by GE Appliances: Air Strike (trainer Phil D’Amato); Mr. Darcy (Angel Montano); Mr. Jagermeister (Valerie Lund); Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella); and Thirstforlife (Wes Hawley).

$125,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed): Bundibunan (Ignacio Correas IV); Corruze (Chris Hartman); Faraway Kitten (Mike Maker); Hackberry (Dan Blacker); Kid Lemuel (Eddie Kenneally); Scars Are Cool (Stan Hough); Spectacular Gem (Jimmy Baker); and Temple (Maker).

Entries for the 11-race program will be drawn Wednesday.

DOWN THE STRETCH – There is a $22,254 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot in Friday’s program. The sequence will span Races 5-10. First post is 12:45 p.m. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7 with guest Brad Cox. Those outside the Louisville area can listen online at www.espnlouisville.com. … Sunday is Family Adventure Day Presented by Kroger. Families can enjoy a day at the races with more than 20 activities for children 12 and under to enjoy in the Plaza. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at www.churchilldowns.com. … Racing this week on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be staged in Lane 3, 22 ft. from the hedge. … Dogwood Stakes favorite Covfefe will school in Race 1 Friday at Churchill Downs, according to trainer Brad Cox. … Happy Birthday wishes are extended to Churchill Downs Track Superintendent Jamie Richardson who will celebrate his birthday Friday and Churchill Downs’ Bugler Steve Buttleman who celebrates Sunday.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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