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Game Winner takes over as favorite after Omaha Beach scratched from Kentucky Derby

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on May 4, 2019 - Duration: 01:04s

Game Winner takes over as favorite after Omaha Beach scratched from Kentucky Derby

Game Winner takes over as Kentucky Derby favorite after Omaha Beach scratched from race due to breathing problem

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Game Winner takes over as favorite after Omaha Beach scratched from Kentucky Derby

SHOWS: LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES (MAY 2, 2019)(CHURCHILL DOWNS - BROADCASTERS AND DIGITAL: NO RESALES) 1.

CHURCHILL DOWNS - SITE OF KENTUCKY DERBY.

'OMAHA BEACH' IN STALL AFTER BEING SCRATCHED FROM DERBY WITH INJURY 2.

NEW DERBY FAVORITE 'GAME WINNER' JOGGING ON TRACK 3.

'GAME WINNER' EATING AND GETTING A BATH 4.

'ROADSTER' BEING WALKED TO TRACK 5.

'ROADSTER' JOGGING ON TRACK 6.

'IMPROBABLE' BEING WALKED TO TRACK 7.

'IMPROBABLE' JOGGING ON TRACK STORY: The Kentucky Derby is the first step toward Triple Crown glory and this year's "Run for the Roses" is more wide open than it has been in years after race favourite Omaha Beach was scratched due to injury.

The betting line for Saturday's race went through a big shake-up after Omaha Beach, who was installed as the early 4-1 favourite, was pulled from the event on Wednesday after developing a non-life threatening breathing problem.

The absence of Omaha Beach opens the door for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is seeking to tie all-time trainer record for Kentucky Derby wins with six and now has the top three favourites in Game Winner, Roadster and Improbable.

The top choice, at 9-2, is Game Winner, followed by Roadster and Improbable, who were both given 5-1 odds.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Justify to a Triple Crown and was supposed to be aboard Omaha Beach on Saturday, was named on Friday as a late replacement for Corey Lanerie aboard 30-1 longshot Cutting Humor.

Another horse to watch will be Maximum Security (10-1) as the Jason Servis-trained bay colt enters the Kentucky undefeated in his four starts.

The Kentucky Derby field was reduced to 19 horses on Friday when longshot Haikal was scratched with an abscess left hoof.

As a result, the rail will remain empty as War of Will, who had drawn the No.

1 post, will now break from the second gate.

There is rain in the forecast on Saturday and while it may stop by the time the horses set off at 6:46 p.m.

ET (2246 GMT) it is most certain they will contest the race on a wet track.

Wet conditions will prove beneficial to some horses, perhaps none more so than War of Will (20-1), who last November raced on a muddy track at Churchill Downs in his first start on dirt and breezed to a five-length victory.

But the Mark Casse-trained colt may need all the help he can get after an unfavourable draw has the son of War Front starting from a post that has not produced a winner since 1978.

(Production: David Grip)

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