Mendelssohn is the most intriguing contender for this year’s Run for the Roses, making the long trip from the desert where he stamped his ticket to Louisville by winning the UAE Derby (G2).
In early Kentucky Derby wagering at Sportsbook, the colt is listed at +350.
The colt is no stranger to U.S. horseplayers, coming over to Del Mar last fall and winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as the lukewarm +450 betting favorite.
After that victory, there was talk of another trip to the U.S. the following spring as the colt is bred to like dirt. His trainer, Aiden O’Brien, has won just about every important Group 1 race overseas along with a dozen Breeders’ Cup races but missing off his mantle is a trophy for winning the Kentucky Derby.
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Mendelssohn has field’s second-best Beyer
The colt started off his three-year-old campaign by winning the Patton Stakes on the all-weather at Dundalk in Ireland and then won the UAE Derby by 18 ½ lengths, earning a 106 Beyer Speed Figure topped only by the 107 Justify earned for his Santa Anita Derby win.
There was talk throughout the Dubai Carnival that speed was very good over the Meydan surface, but the colt left no doubt he is a very talented three-year-old.
There have been 13 Derby starters that shipped in off a run in the UAE Derby and they have not fared well. The best finish was a fifth by the O’Brien-trained Master of Hounds in 2011.
Colt purchased for $3 million
That fifth-place finish was the best among the five runners O’Brien has shipped to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May. The most recent was Lines of Battle, who was seventh in the 2013 Derby.
This colt was purchased for $3 million at the Fall 2016 Keeneland Sale and he certainly has the pedigree to be a good one. His half-sister is Beholder, who won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and the 2013 and 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Another sibling is Into Mischief, who won the 2007 CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park and is having an outstanding career at stud.
The colt is being taken more seriously than any Euro invader since Arazi, who shipped to the U.S. to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in 1991 but came up short in an eighth-place finish in the 1992 Derby, the -125 beaten favorite.
It is a long way from Meydan to Louisville, but this colt should be taken seriously.
Sportsbook Odds: +350
Last Race: Won UAE Derby (G2)
Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.