AIDAN O’Brien said before Saturday’s UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai that Mendelssohn is the horse best suited to the Kentucky Derby that he’s ever trained. He’s surely not saying anything different now.
Mendelssohn made his dirt debut in the Grade 2, $2 million UAE Derby and won almost from Dubai to Kentucky.
And Kentucky, all being well, is where Mendelssohn is headed as an intriguing horse for the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Sent hard to the lead by Ryan Moore on a Meydan dirt track once again carrying speed, Mendelssohn rolled down the backstretch in front, cruised around the far turn still in control, and then really started his show in the homestretch.
Turning for home a few lengths in front of the filly Rayya, Mendelssohn bumped his lead to five lengths, then 10, 12, and 15, and he crossed the finish 18 3/4 lengths in front of Rayya, stopping the timer in 1:55.18 for 1,800 meters, about 1 3/16 miles. The time was a dirt-track record and was 2.27 seconds quicker than the next-fastest UAE Derby since Meydan went to dirt in 2015.
Mendelssohn is by Scat Daddy (Johannesburg) from a mare by Tricky Creek.
Photo: Andrew Watkins.