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Omaha Beach gets some work Monday at Churchill Downs with his exercise trainer. | STAFF PHOTO BY CRAIG PEARSON

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will be scratched from Saturday’s race due to an entrapped epiglottis, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

“After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times,” Mandella confirmed Wednesday evening. “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.” 

The epiglottis is a triangular-shaped cartilage that lies at the base of the airway just in front of the cartilages which cover the airway during swallowing. When an abnormality occurs in this area it can hinder the performance of horses.

With the scratch of Omaha Beach, Bodexpress will draw into the field and break from post position 20. All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.

Omaha Beach, owned by Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms, was named a 4-1 favorite at Tuesday's post draw. He seemed to be peaking at just the right time to give Mandella a shot at his first Kentucky Derby victory during a Hall of Fame training career.

Mandella had seemed to be relishing the opportunity of a lifetime this week as his horse drew attention from horse racing fans at Churchill Downs. Mandella said he could see his horse maturing as a racer. 

"You look at his races, they just keep getting better and better," Mandella said earlier this week. "He's able to think and run." 

He was optimistic about his three-year-old's chances. 

"I'm very proud of what I've done throughout my life in the business," Mandella said. "I've come to an age now where I"m due."