The favourite to win the Kentucky Derby was forced to scratch due to injury, completely reshaping the biggest race of the year

Kentucky Derby favourite Omaha Beach has scratched from the race due to injury.

Trainer Richard Mandella confirmed to Churchill Downs on Wednesday afternoon that Omaha Beach would be forced to miss the race due to an entrapped epiglottis.

“After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times,” Mandella said in a news release. “It caused us to scope him and we found an entrapped epiglottis. We can’t fix it this week so we’ll have to have a procedure done in a few days and probably be out of training for three weeks. We’ll have to figure out a whole new game plan.”

Jockey Mike Smith, who chose to ride Omaha Beach over Bob Baffert’s Roadster in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby, is now left without a horse in the race. Smith won the Kentucky Derby in 2018 atop Justify.

Read more: A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year

Omaha Beach had opened as the morning line favourite after post positions were drawn on Tuesday, slated at 4/1 odds to win the roses.

Omaha Beach’s absence has an immediate effect on the rest of the horses in the field. First and foremost, the horses outside of his 12th post position will move in one spot, with Bodexpress entering as the outer-most 20th gate.

The scratch also puts trainer Bob Baffert in a commanding position to win his second straight Kentucky Derby, with his trio of horses – Game Winner, Roadster, and Improbable – all amongst the remaining favourites in the field.

Omaha Beach’s injury will keep him out of the race on Saturday, but if he’s healthy in time for the Preakness, there’s a good chance he could play spoiler to whichever horse wins this weekend and begins his quest for the Triple Crown.

  • Read more Kentucky Derby 2019:

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Kentucky Derby 2019: Start time, odds, and where to watch

A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year

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