Mendelssohn Looking to Make His Mark at Meydan for a Shot in the Kentucky Derby
The UAE Derby is set for Saturday, March 31 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, and a field of nine 3-year-olds will contend for a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby. The Derby points race offers 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers in the $2 million UAE Derby, and the two colts expected to take most of the betting action are Mendelssohn and Gold Town.
Leading Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien will saddle Mendelssohn, who makes his dirt debut after winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November at Del Mar. He won his only race since, capturing the 1 mile Patten Stakes at Dundalk (IRE), where he finished just in front of O’Brien’s other two UAE Derby entries Threeandfourpence and Seahenge.
Mendelssohn will break from post 4, and drawn between his main rivals, locally based Gold Town in 5 and the American shipper Reride in 3. O’Brien has run five horses in four Kentucky Derby’s, and the best of them was Johannesburg, who finished 8th in the 2002 Derby. Johannesburg, it turned out, was an early-developing miler type, not suited to the Derby. The best of O’Brien’s Derby horses was by Master of Hound, who finished 5th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
Mendelssohn already has 20 points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby for winning the Patton Stakes over an all-weather track March 9. A top-3 finish in the UAE Derby lands him in Louisville. Anything less will be a big disappointment, as Mendelssohn is the most accomplished horse O’Brien has considered for the American Triple Crown since Johannesburg.
Mendelssohn is a big, strong colt and a son of Scat Daddy. His sister is the great dirt mare Beholder, a 3-time Breeders’ Cup champion who won 18 of 26 lifetime starts. I was able to witness the great duel and win with Songbird when Beholder won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and I was in the Santa Anita paddock to see those two sensational mares up close prior to one of the greatest Breeders’ Cup races.
While those of us in the United States will be up early Saturday morning to watch the biggest races on Dubai World Cup day, many will be pulling for Mendelssohn to make his mark in the UAE Derby so he can ship to the United States for the Kentucky Derby. He’s been a strong traveler thus far winning races worldwide, and now his biggest race is at Meydan leading into the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown.
“Hopefully, if everything goes well, he’ll be able to go on to Kentucky,” O’Brien said last week about Mendelssohn from his home base of Ballydoyle in Ireland. “Everything has gone well since Dundalk.”
Saturday, March 31 – Dubai World Cup races. The first time listed is the race time in Greenwich Mean Time, followed by the local time in Dubai, then the U.S. time zones.
|GULF (GT)||EASTERN (ET)||CENTRAL (CT)||MOUNTAIN (MT)||PACIFIC (PT)|
|Godolphin Mile||11:45 a.m.||3:45 p.m.||7:45 a.m.||6:45 a.m.||5:45 a.m.||4:45 a.m.|
|Dubai Kahayla Classic||12:15 p.m.||4:15 p.m.||8:15 a.m.||7:15 a.m.||6:15 a.m.||5:15 a.m.|
|Dubai Gold Cup||12:50 p.m.||4:50 p.m.||8:50 a.m.||7:50 a.m.||6:50 a.m.||5:50 a.m.|
|UAE Derby||1:30 p.m.||5:30 p.m.||9:30 a.m.||8:30 a.m.||7:30 a.m.||6:30 a.m.|
|Al Quoz Sprint||2:05 p.m.||6:05 p.m.||10:05 a.m.||9:05 a.m.||8:05 a.m.||7:05 a.m.|
|Dubai Golden Shaheen||2:40 p.m.||6:40 p.m.||10:40 a.m.||9:40 a.m.||8:40 a.m.||7:40 a.m.|
|Dubai Turf||3:35 p.m.||7:35 p.m.||11:35 a.m.||10:35 a.m.||9:35 a.m.||8:35 a.m.|
|Dubai Sheema Classic||4:10 p.m.||8:10 p.m.||12:10 p.m.||11:10 a.m.||10:10 a.m.||9:10 a.m.|
|Dubai World Cup||4:50 p.m.||8:50 p.m.||12:50 p.m.||11:50 a.m.||10:50 a.m.||9:50 a.m|