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Kentucky Derby Favorite Omaha Beach Scratched, But There’s Still Talent To Be Seen

And They’re Off To The Races There’s a 50 percent chance of rain in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. But that parade has...

And They’re Off To The Races

There’s a 50 percent chance of rain in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. But that parade has already been hit by a bit of a storm.

Omaha Beach, the favorite in the Run for the Roses, was scratched on Wednesday. Too bad, as Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby, a key prep race, in poor conditions.

The horse suffers from an entrapped epiglottis, which Bloodhorse.com describes as “an upper airway abnormality that can cause poor performance in athletic horses.” The 4-1 favorite will be replaced in the field by 30-1 longshot Bodexpress.

The absence of the favorite also means jockey Mike Smith, who rode Justify to the Triple Crown a year ago, has no mount for the Derby.

Roadster and Game Winner, who ran 1-2 at the Santa Anita Derby, will draw far more attention now. Roadster, who will be in the 17th starting position, is at 5-1 and Game Winner, right next door at 16, is 9-2. Improbable is also 5-1, starting from the fifth position. All three favorites are trained by Bob Baffert, so he should have a decent day, rain or shine.

It hasn’t been a wonderful year for the racing industry. More than 20 horses have died at Santa Anita and there’s endless battling in Maryland about whether the Preakness Stakes can continue at dilapidated Pimlico Race Course.

Perhaps on Saturday we can enjoy a bit of pageantry and these beautiful animals battling gamely to win. The track visitors in their finery, the post parade and that the so-called “most exciting two minutes in sports” remain a part of our sporting tradition.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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