Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach ruled out with throat condition

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Icon Sportswire Getty Images

Omaha Beach - the early betting favorite at 4-1 - has been scratched from Saturday's race, according to multiple reports.

Richard Mandella told Churchill Downs the colt will miss the race because of entrapped epiglottis.

Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 5:50 p.m. CDT Saturday.

But that changed by late afternoon when Rogers said Omaha Beach has an entrapped epiglottis, the cartilage at the base of the airway that hampers the colt's breathing.

Omaha Beach was scheduled to come out of Gate 12, which hasn't sent off a victor since 1971, when Canonero II won from No. 12.

With Omaha Beach out, it leaves 19 horses scheduled to run Saturday.

Trainer Richard Mandella grooms Kentucky Derby entrant Omaha Beach before a workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday.

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"It's such a disappointment, but we'll fight again, " Mandella told the AP.

It's a bitter blow for the 68-year-old trainer and the horse's owner, Rick Porter, a 77-year-old who has been in the thoroughbred racing business for many years. The ordeal will knock him off the Triple Crown trail. Porter's Derby highs and lows have been extreme - he had Hard Spun finished second in 2007, then had filly Eight Belles suffer a fatal breakdown after finishing second the next year.

Bob Baffert-trained horses Game Winner, Roadster and Improbable are among the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby with Omaha Beach out.

Omaha Beach won the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby to qualify for the 2019 Kentucky Derby - two of the same races that Triple Crown victor American Pharaoh won before his Triple Crown run in 2015.

"I'm all in with Flo", he said. Favorite Eskendereya was pulled out of the Derby and retired from racing six days before the 2011 edition of the race due to a leg issue.

The scratch opens the door for Bodexpress, son of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes runner-up Bodemeister, who enters the field for the one-and-a-quarter-mile race in the No 20 slot from the also-eligible list, with every horse from No 13 to No 20 moving over one position in the starting gate.

Mandella said he would likely return to Southern California before the Derby.

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