Following his fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Cigar Mile (G1), Mendelssohn is retiring to stud at Coolmore America. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner and reigning UAE Derby (G2) record-setter was already advertised to begin his stallion career in 2019, but a last hurrah in the January 26 Pegasus World Cup (G1) had been in view until Sunday’s announcement.
“All of our team loved Mendelssohn from the first time we saw him as a yearling and he has developed into a magnificent looking horse,” Coolmore America manager Dermot Ryan said in the press release.
The colt’s future stud appeal was apparent from the beginning, as the Scat Daddy half-brother to successful young sire Into Mischief and future Hall of Famer Beholder topped the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale at $3 million.
Sent to Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, Mendelssohn was a work in progress at two. The May 17 foal moved forward from an educational eighth on debut to break his maiden next time at the Curragh. After trailing in the Champagne (G2) at Doncaster, Mendelssohn added blinkers, and took a leap forward when runner-up in the Dewhurst (G1).
The 2017 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar marked the turning point in his career. By defeating a deep Juvenile Turf cast including Catholic Boy and eventual Epsom Derby (G1) hero Masar, Mendelssohn established his class – and put himself on a path toward the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1).
A workmanlike winner of his warm-up in the Patton S. over Dundalk’s Polytrack, a scoring race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, Mendelssohn tried dirt for the first time in the UAE Derby. He stole the show on the Dubai World Cup undercard with an 18 1/2-length conquest in a track-record 1:55.18 for about 1 3/16 miles.
That effort made Mendelssohn the 6-1 third choice in Derby 144, but his race was effectively over as soon as he got clobbered at the start. Regular rider Ryan Moore took care of him once he was beaten in the slop, and he eased home last behind fellow Scat Daddy colt Justify.
While Justify went on to sweep the Triple Crown, Mendelssohn regrouped back at Ballydoyle. O’Brien mapped out a strategy to return to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Mendelssohn resurfaced in the Dwyer (G3) around Belmont Park’s one-turn mile and ran as if needing the race in a tiring third.
But O’Brien got what he wanted from it, for Mendelssohn’s next stateside trip resulted in a runner-up effort to Catholic Boy in the Travers (G1). At first expected to train up to the Classic, he instead made the transatlantic flight again for the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and placed an heroic third after chasing the unsustainable pace.
In the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Mendelssohn himself set a searching pace and paid the price down the stretch to wind up fifth. The cutback for the Cigar Mile was intriguing, but he couldn’t lift from a stalking position and crossed the wire a one-paced fourth.
Mendelssohn, who retires with a record of 13-4-2-2 and earnings of $2,542,092, will now stand alongside Justify at Ashford Stud.
“Being by our own Scat Daddy and a half-brother to Into Mischief and Beholder, you couldn’t ask for a better pedigree,” Ryan said, “and he showed real brilliance when winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar and the UAE Derby by a street, recording a new track record. He also ran some excellent races in defeat this fall, notably in the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“We have already had a huge number of enquiries about him and I have no doubt that he will prove extremely popular.”
Out of Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady, the matriarch of Clarkland Farm, Mendelssohn will stand for a $35,000 fee.