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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Mendelssohn Tests Distance of Ground for First Time


First Time Beyond A Mile in UAE Derby

The best showing in the Run for the Roses by a UAE Derby runner was that of Master Of Hounds, who was narrowly beaten by Khawlah in the 2011 UAE Derby prior to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

The trainer of Master Of Hounds was Aidan O’Brien, who has won the UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse twice with Daddy Long Legs in 2012 and a year later with Lines Of Battle.

This year O'Brien's top-rated horse of three entered in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby is Mendelssohn. The other two are Threeandfourpence and Seahenge.

Mendelssohn made news before setting foot on a race track, with the half-brother to multiple American champion mare Beholder topping the Keeneland September Yearling Sale at $3 million to MV Magnier. His juvenile campaign began steadily but rounded off with two great efforts, a second in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes before collecting the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf.

After a long time off, three weeks ago he won on the synthethic track going a mile at Dundalk in Ireland, defeating Threeandfourpence, Seahenge and others.

“Mendelssohn continues to improve, and we hope he can run a big race. He did very well over the winter and mentally he is very relaxed. He is American-bred, so we hope the dirt (in the UAE Derby) will suit him,” O’Brien said.

“He is quite a strong traveler so we will learn more about him at Meydan in terms of the Kentucky Derby. You couldn’t be sure how well he will stay as he goes beyond a mile for the first time but we are hopeful he will get the trip.”

It is worth pointing out that O’Brien’s previous runners in the UAE Derby have gone into the race without a prep run, but the Patton Stakes at Dundalk presented itself this year as a suitable option given its new position on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

“The thinking is that having a run into our horses before the UAE Derby won’t be a disadvantage. We are very happy with how our horses are going into the race,” O’Brien added.

Nine runners go to post for the UAE Derby, and the race tempo should be pretty honest considering that rivals Gold Town, Rayya, Yulong Warrior and Threeandfourpence all led in their recent tests.

Mendelssohn is drawn in gate four and jockey Ryan Moore is likely to try and camp just behind the lead as he did when successful at Del Mar and Dundalk. The Scat Daddy colt touched down in Dubai early on Tuesday morning and is expected to make his first appearance on the dirt track on Thursday.

Edited Emirates Racing release


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