Whenever you look through the list of two year – olds at Ballydoyle, most of the better ones are chosen to carry the names of famous people, places, artists and poets.
In Mendelssohn’s case, composers. Luckily for Sue Magnier (Wife of Coolmore supremo John and namer of Coolmore 2yo’s) Mendelssohn has turned out to be a very good horse, winning the G1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf last year. And after romping away with the UAE Derby by 18 lengths in course record time, is now a leading player for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
Against him is the greatest opposition of all, History. No European horse has ever won the “run for the roses”. And that is understandable, it is very tough to beat the American’s on their home turf (or should I say Dirt).
They are bred for it and train on the surface every day. Another thing the Aidan O’Brien trained horse will need on his side is luck. Getting a good draw will be important, as his big race jockey Ryan Moore will want to be travelling along with the right horses. If he gets too far back, then he will find it tough coming through all the kickback.
The opposition looks mighty, a real vintage Kentucky Derby is in store. Justify is the market leader in the states, and after a breathless victory in the Santa Anita Derby, it looks he will take a lot of beating.
Matt Chapman has described him as the next “Bob Baffert monster” in the making. There is a lot of exciting talent heading to Churchill Downs. It will be a totally different test for Mendelssohn than the one he experienced in Dubai. We wish him, Aidan O’Brien and team the best of luck!,
Article By Jamie Lindsey