Identifying versatile sires can lead to lucrative payoffs

September 26th, 2023

When a male racehorse enjoys success racing over a particular surface (dirt, turf, or synthetic), it’s easy to assume his progeny will follow suit. But sometimes they prove more versatile than expected.

Take 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as an example. By far the majority of his success came on dirt, but he also displayed versatility winning the Del Mar Futurity (G1) on synthetic. He never raced on turf, but as a stallion he’s proven to be an excellent source of high-class grass runners, including Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) winner Harvey’s Lil Goil, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) hero Four Wheel Drive, and New York (G1) winner Marketsegmentation.

Sometimes these “unexpected” successes can be predicted, and horseplayers who get on the bandwagon early (before most bettors catch on) can be in line for lucrative payoffs. It’s happening right now with Omaha Beach, one of the most successful first-crop sires of 2023.

Omaha Beach started his career on turf, recording a trio of top-three finishes before switching to dirt. He subsequently rattled off victories in the Rebel (G2), Arkansas Derby (G1), Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), and Malibu (G1) to rank among the leading three-year-olds of 2019.

It’s easy to remember Omaha Beach’s big wins on dirt and forget about the decent turf form he displayed early on. On one occasion, he lost by a nose to next-out Cecil B. DeMille (G3) winner Flying Scotsman. Another time, Omaha Beach went down by a neck against future San Gabriel (G3) winner Bob and Jackie, who won back-to-back stakes immediately after defeating Omaha Beach.

As a son of War Front, who has sired many top-tier turf horses, Omaha Beach always had the potential to be a good grass horse. And guess what? Early results indicate Omaha Beach is passing on an affinity for turf to at least some of his progeny.

Bettors who were aware of Omaha Beach’s potential to sire turf horses caught a nice payoff when his daughter Cynane debuted in a five-furlong maiden special weight on May 11 at Belmont Park. Starting as the 4.70-1 fourth choice in a field of seven, Cynane led by a comfortable margin at every call to win by 2 3/4 lengths, and every $20 win bet returned $114.

An even better result came about on Aug. 24 at Del Mar. Charge for Gold, a son of Omaha Beach, debuted in a five-furlong grass maiden special weight and started as the third choice at 5.20-1. After tracking the early pace, Charge for Gold kicked on to beat favored Andreadytorumble by 1 1/2 lengths. A $20 win bet returned $124, while the logical $2 exacta paid $39.20.

Omaha Beach sired another turf winner on Sept. 25 at Horseshoe Indianapolis, when Code Omaha started as the 2.70-1 favorite in a five-furlong maiden special weight. Showing speed from the start, Code Omaha led at every call to win by 2 1/4 lengths over second choice Silent Heart. Every $20 win bet paid $74 and the chalky $2 exacta yielded $31.

History contains many examples of accomplished dirt horses siring turf horses, elite grass runners siring quality dirt horses, synthetic stars siring top-tier dirt runners, etc. As Omaha Beach illustrates, finding these versatile stallions before the general public catches on is well worth your while.