Mike Smith has chosen tp ride Omaha Beach in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Richard Mandella announced Tuesday afternoon.
"I just got the call," Mandella said. "We're good. Mike Smith. I'm very happy."
Smith had ridden Omaha Beach to victory in the Arkansas Derby last Saturday. Seven days earlier, he had ridden Roadster to victory in the Santa Anita Derby. Those two colts are among the top two in this year's Kentucky Derby on May 4, so the choice was a difficult one for Smith and his agent, Brad Pegram.
Omaha Beach arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday after a van ride from Oaklawn Park. Roadster is still at Santa Anita along with Baffert's Santa Anita Derby runner-up, Game Winner.
Improbable, also trained by Baffert, already is at Churchill Downs.
Smith won last year's Triple Crown in concert with Baffert on Justify. Smith has won the Derby twice. Mandella, like Baffert a Hall of Famer, is seeking his first Derby victory.