Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Omaha: Three-Year-Old Season

 In 1935, Omaha began his racing season at Aqueduct, where he won, then moved on to the Wood Memorial. He came third by only a nose. Next he went to the Kentucky Derby as the second favorite, the favorite being Man o' War's daughter from Calumet Farms, Nellie Flag.

 Also racing was the victor of that year's Wood Memorial,Today, and Hopeful Stakes winner Physic Bid, and Boxthorn, the third betting favorite. Omaha ended up taking the lead in the backstretch, winning by a length and a half. Nellie Flag had been caught in traffic, and consequently finished fourth behind Roman Soldier and Whiskolo.

 The Preakness came a week later. Omaha almost effortlessly won by six lengths, with a horse known as Firethorn second and Physic Bid third. By the time the Withers Stakes came along between the Preakness and the Belmont, people began to question Omaha's ability to claim the Triple Crown, like his sire before him. Things became worse when he lost by a length and a half in the Withers Stakes.

 On the day of the Belmont Stakes, when the track was slick and muddy, and the cloudy sky drizzled rain, making track conditions less than satisfactory, Omaha made an attempt to follow in his sire footsteps. The horse named Cold Shoulder took an early, followed by Firethorn. Firethorn led well into the backstretch. Then, in one last desperate drive, Omaha gave his all, passing the leaders and becoming the third Triple Crown winner.

In the Brooklyn Stakes, Omaha lost some of the respect he had just earned, as well as Horse of the Year honors. Then he won the Dwyer Stakes, equalling Man o' War's time of 1:49 1/5. After that, he defeat Black Helen in the Arlington Stakes, and broke Sun Beau's record with the time 2:01 2/5. He had finally gained the status of national hero. Yet in the process, he pulled up lame at Saratoga. He was later sent to England for his next season.

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