Smith could regret big 7/1 Roadster call

Updated: 23/05/2022

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Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith’s decision to take the ride on Omaha Beach (6/1 – Kentucky Derby 2019) instead of Roadster (7/1) has left many to wonder if the Bob Baffert-trained colt is ready to follow in the hoofprints of 2018 Kentucky Derby winner Justify.

Roadster’s preparation has been as good as you would expect from the stable of two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Baffert.

He made an impressive return to racing as a three-year-old after a six-month break due to throat surgery by winning a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita Park in early March.

Three weeks ago, Roadster rallied strongly from fifth of six in the Santa Anita Derby to edge fellow Baffert-trained champion Game Winner (7/1) by a half-length.

“[Roadster jockey] Mike Smith, he does things that are unbelievable,” Baffert said after the race.

“And he did one of those [rides Saturday]. I left him alone [with no instructions] and he was on his own. They should induct him into the Hall of Fame again.”

Despite that, Smith clearly fancies the chances of Omaha Beach more in ‘The Run for the Roses’, which takes place this year on May 4.

The Richard Mandella-trained three-year-old has three wins and three seconds from seven races, having earned his starting gate on a rush of momentum with back-to-back graded stakes wins at Oaklawn Park.

Omaha Beach defeated 2018 champion two-year-old male Game Winner to win the second division of the Rebel Stakes by a nose and followed that notable victory up by overcoming Grade 1 winner Improbable (7/1) in the Arkansas Derby by a length in another stretch duel.

Mandella flew in his blacksmith from California to replace the patch on Omaha Beach’s quarter crack – described as the equivalent of a human breaking a fingernail near the cuticle – on Sunday.

“It takes a few months to grow down,” Mandella said. “You don’t just forget about it and it heals overnight. You have to stay with it and not let it become a problem again.

“When they fresh do it, it is painful until you get the patch on. But the patch pulls it together, like having a little cast on it. As long as the patch works, it’s no problem.”

Odds subject to change.



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