Mendelssohn led a 1-2-3 finish for Aidan O’Brien-trained colts in the $89,500 Patton Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland on Friday evening as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner took a step forward to participation in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Contested over a synthetic surface around a one-turn mile, the Patton was the penultimate race in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The seven-race series, which began in September, awards a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate to a horse that accumulates the most points in the series.
Breaking from the inside post, Mendelssohn rated in second behind yard mate and pacesetter Threeandfourpence down the backside. Briefly losing position to the filly Blackgold Fairy on the turn, Mendelssohn regained it in upper stretch while remaining inside Threeandfourpence. Challenging for the lead with just over a quarter-mile to go, the heavy favorite soon seized command and edged clear to win by three parts of a length under Ryan Moore.
Owned by the Coolmore connections of Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, and Michael Tabor, Mendelssohn paid $3.20 in the U.S. pools while starting at even-money in overseas markets. His final time was 1:38.80.
Threeandfourpence finished second, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Seahenge. The trio had all contested the Dewhurst (G1) last October, with Mendelssohn finishing second, Seahenge third, and Threeandfourpence fourth.
Mendelssohn earned 20 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, placing him first on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby standings. Gronkowski, who captured the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton on Wednesday, sits second, also with 20 points. Threeandfourpence and Seahenge are third and fourth with eight and four points, respectively. All other place-getters in the series to this point have not been nominated to the Triple Crown.
Mendelssohn is now expected to try and qualify for the Run for the Roses through the primary Road to the Kentucky Derby series in the March 31 U.A.E. Derby (G2) at Meydan, which offers 100 qualifying points to the winner. Should Mendelssohn qualify through that route, the next eligible horse in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby standings will be extended an invitation. The present number two, Gronkowski, is expected to prep next in the U.S.
The European Road to the Kentucky Derby series concludes March 30 with the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle in England. The one-mile race on synthetic will award 30 qualifying points to the winning horse.
Prior to his second in the Dewhurst and triumph in the Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, Mendelssohn had won a maiden at The Curragh, which was book-ended by two unplaced efforts. One was a last-place finish to Seahenge in the Champagne (G2) at Doncaster.
A $3 million Keeneland September yearling, Mendelssohn is a Scat Daddy half-brother to four-time champion mare Beholder as well as the Grade 1 winner and noted sire Into Mischief. All were reared by stakes winner Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek.