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Omaha Beach Flawless in Malibu
Benoit Photo

Omaha Beach Flawless in Malibu

ARCADIA, CA – Fox Hill Farms’ Omaha Beach put on a flawless performance in his penultimate start before retiring, zooming home in hand to capture Saturday’s $300,000 Runhappy Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

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Breaking from the far outside post 5 under Mike Smith as the 2/5 prohibitive favorite, Omaha Beach took back but stayed out wide in the clear to avoid any kickback. Up ahead, Much Better burst to a lengthy early lead, posting opening fractions of :22.43 and :45.02.

As he entered the far turn, Much Better’s lead seemingly vanished in an instant; ComplexityManny Wah, and Omaha Beach all suddenly met and passed him. Omaha Beach did it the easiest, with Smith seemingly just a motionless statue aboard for the ride.

At the top of the stretch, Omaha Beach began stretching out his legs, and the race was all but over. Striding home gallantly amidst the roar of the crowd, the Richard Mandella trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:22.33 for the 7-furlong sprint over the fast main track.

Credit: Benoit Photo

“He just gives you that confidence; he exudes it,” said Smith, who passed Jerry Bailey for most all-time Grade 1 wins with 217. “Mr. Mandella had him trained up so well for this race. I basically stayed as still as I could. I didn’t want to mess it up, to be honest. He did it all on his own and he did it pretty handily today.”

Roadster, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1) earlier this year, rallied from last to take second by 2 1/4 lengths over Manny Wah. Complexity folded up in the far turn and outkicked only Much Better, who was eased as he completed the order of finish.

Credit: Benoit Photo

Omaha Beach’s win was his fifth in his past six starts, with his lone loss coming last out in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), where he finished second. The 3-year-old son of War Front improved his record to 10-5-4-1 with $1,651,800 earned and is scheduled to make his final career start in January’s Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.

“He was supposed to run like this,” Mandella demured. “I can’t think of one better (that he’s trained than Omaha Beach), although he hasn’t been around long enough of those that stayed forever, Beholder and them. Probably the few times he ever got beat were my fault.

“This is really special for us, Opening Day at Santa Anita Park. After all the trouble we have been through last year, this place is the Great Race Place, and we all need to remember that.”

Omaha Beach returned $2.80 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Roadster brought back $3.60 to place and $3 to show, while Manny Wah paid $3.80 to show.

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