On a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Omaha Beach held off Improbable to win the 2019 Arkansas Derby on Saturday.
Omaha Beach entered the Arkansas Derby as a slight 8-5 favorite over Improbable at 9-5, and by virtue of his win, Omaha Beach earned 100 Kentucky Derby points and further established himself as one of the top contenders to win the Run for the Roses.
Meanwhile, Improbable earned 40 Kentucky Derby points with the second-place finish and did enough to make it into the Kentucky Derby field.
Entering the Arkansas Derby, Sportsbook.ag listed Omaha Beach as the third choice to win the Kentucky Derby at 6-1 and Improbable as the second at 5-1 behind Roadster at 9-2.
Here is a look at the payouts for the top three finishers in Omaha Beach, Improbable and Country House, courtesy of Daily Racing Form:
1. Omaha Beach - Win: $5.40, Place: $3.00, Show: $2.80
2. Improbable - Place: $3.60, Show: $3.00
3. Country House - Show: $4.20
4. Laughing Fox
6. Long Range Toddy
7. Jersey Agenda
8. Tikhvin Flew
9. Gray Attempt
10. Six Shooter
11. One Flew South
With 20 Kentucky Derby points, Country House will likely be part of the Kentucky Derby as well.
Jockey Mike Smith guided the Richard Mandella-trained Omaha Beach to victory Saturday, but he will have a difficult decision on his hands with regard to which horse he will ride in the Kentucky Derby. Smith is also the primary jockey for Kentucky Derby favorite Roadster.
While Omaha Beach's Kentucky Derby jockey is uncertain, Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweeted about Mandella having a chance to pick up the first Triple Crown race win of his career:
Jose Ortiz was on the saddle for the Bob Baffert-trained Improbable, who fell just short of what would have been a huge, momentum-building win ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
While Improbable managed to hang with Omaha Beach and almost ran him down, Matt Dinerman of Golden Gate Fields views Omaha Beach as the horse to beat in the Kentucky Derby:
Jeff Siegel of XBTV also seems to be leaning in that direction because of Omaha Beach's ability to close in recent races:
Omaha Beach now has consecutive victories in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, which gives him a ton of credibility heading toward the first leg of the Triple Crown.
If Omaha Beach wins the Kentucky Derby, he will become the first Arkansas Derby winner to win the Kentucky Derby since Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015.
Omaha Beach and Improbable will go at it once again on May 4 when the 2019 Kentucky Derby emanates from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.