Omaha Beach, Game Winner Among 10 Derby Hopefuls to Have Sold at Keeneland’s 2017 September Sale

(Top two ML favorites for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby — Omaha Beach, left, and Game Winner — were both sold at Keeneland 2017 September Yearling Sale / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Two graduates of Keeneland’s 2017 September Yearling Sale – Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel (G2) winner Omaha Beach and champion Game Winner – are the respective 4-1 morning-line favorite and 5-1 second choice for Saturday’s 145th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Omaha Beach and Game Winner are among the 10 Keeneland sales graduates, nine of which are alumni of the 2017 September Yearling Sale, entered today in the race.

Keeneland sales have produced 22 Kentucky Derby winners, including the past three winners of the classic: championNyquist in 2016, Always Dreaming in 2017 and undefeated Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Justify in 2018.

Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:50 p.m.

Keeneland sales graduates entered in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, limited to 20 horses, are:

Code of Honor (Noble Mission [GB]-Reunited) – William S. Farish bred and owns the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2) winner, who was offered by his Lane’s End, agent, at the 2017 September Yearling Sale. Shug McGaughey trains Code of Honor, who will be ridden in the Derby by John Velazquez.

Cutting Humor (First Samurai-Pun) – Dell Hancock and Bernie Sams bred the Sunland Park Derby (G3) winner, who was consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent, as a yearling to the 2017 January Horses of All Ages Sale. Bloodstock Investments IV purchased the colt for $135,000. Corey Lanerie will ride Cutting Humor for owner Starlight Racing and trainer Todd Pletcher.

Game Winner (Candy Ride [ARG]-Indyan Giving) – Ben Glass, agent for owners Gary and Mary West, purchased the 2018 champion 2-year-old male for $110,000 from the consignment of Lane’s End, agent, at the 2017 September Sale. He was bred by Summer Wind Equine. Bob Baffert trains Game Winner, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario.

Improbable (City Zip-Rare Event) – The Arkansas Derby runner-up, a Grade 1 winner at 2, is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Lane’s End, agent, consigned him as a weanling to the 2016 November Breeding Stock Sale, where he sold for $110,000 to Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Taylor Made consigned him to the 2017 September Sale, where Maverick Racing and China Horse Club purchased him for $200,000. Bred by St. George Farm and G. Watts Humphrey Jr., Improbable races for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the colt for Baffert.

Omaha Beach (War Front-Charming) – The Arkansas Derby and Rebel winner, trained by Richard Mandella for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, was an RNA to Sale at the 2017 September Sale. He was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. Bred by Charming Syndicate, Omaha Beach will be ridden by Mike Smith.

Plus Que Parfait (Point of Entry-Belvedera) – Calloway Stables bred the UAE Derby Sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) winner, who is a graduate of two Keeneland sales. Vinery Sales, agent, offered him as a weanling at the 2016 November Sale and then as a yearling at the 2017 September Sale, where he sold to Oracle Bloodstock, agent, for $135,000. Brendan Walsh trains Plus Que Parfait for Imperial Racing. He will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.

Roadster (Quality Road-Ghost Dancing) – Breeder Stone Farm consigned the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner to the 2017 September Sale, where he sold to owner Speedway Stables for $525,000. Baffert trains Roadster, who will be ridden by Florent Geroux.

Vekoma (Candy Ride [ARG]-Mona de Momma) – R.A. Hill paid $135,000 for the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) winner at the 2017 September Sale and races the colt with Gatsas Stables. Alpha Delta Stables bred Vekoma, who was consigned by Lane’s End, agent. He is trained by George Weaver and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

War of Will (War Front-Visions of Clarity [IRE]) – Gary Barber races the Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) and Lecomte (G3) winner, who was bred by Flaxman Holdings Limited. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent, to the 2017 September Sale, War of Will was an RNA to Sale. Tyler Gaffalione will ride the colt for trainer Mark Casse.

Also-eligible:

Bodexpress (Bodemeister-Pied a Terre) – Martha Jane Mulholland bred the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) runner-up, who was offered by her family’s Mulholland Springs at the 2017 September Sale. Gustavo Delgado trains Bodexpress for Top Racing, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable. Chris Landeros was named to ride.

 

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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