Pegasus World Cup Invitational favorite Omaha Beach was scratched due to leg swelling Friday, one day before the $3 million race at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Omaha Beach, installed as the 7-5 favorite following Wednesday's post draw, was to make the final start of his career in the lucrative Grade 1 stakes race. There was no word whether or not the colt, owned by Fox Hill Farms, would continue to race or begin his stud career.
"It was observed (Friday) morning that Omaha Beach had light swelling in his right hind fetlock," trainer Richard Mandella said. "While we are disappointed to have to miss the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Omaha Beach's safety and well-being comes first and we wanted to do what was best for him. He has been a great pleasure to have around the barn and we are grateful for the opportunity to train such a magnificent horse."
A 4-year-old son of War Front, Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn and was the morning-line favorite for last year's Kentucky Derby but was forced to miss all three Triple Crown races after throat surgery. He returned to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, finish second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and win the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, all at Santa Anita Park.
Earlier Thursday, another top Pegasus contender, Spun to Run, was scratched due to a skin rash.
The Pegasus World Cup is a 1 1/8-mile race on dirt for 4-year-olds and up whose participants will race medication-free -- an initiative largely resulting from the focus on thoroughbred deaths at Santa Anita Park last year.
--Field Level Media