The wait was worth the reward. The Patton Stakes was delayed one week because of wintry conditions in Ireland, but Mendelssohn still made his 2018 debut a memorable one. The Triple Crown-nominated Kentucky-bred was the 3-5 favorite in the 1 mile (1600 meters) race at Dundalk (IRE) Friday.
Mendelssohn made his move on the inside, at the top of the stretch and outdrove stablemate Threeandfourpence to the wire for the victory. Seahenge finished 3rd in the field of eight, and it was a 1-2-3 sweep for trainer Aiden O’Brien.
"It was nice to get Mendelssohn started, and he did everything right; he traveled and quickened well," O’Brien said. "He was a little bit rusty, obviously, on his first run in a long time, but Ryan was very happy with him. Physically, he has done very well, and mentally he is good. He is very relaxed, which is good."
The Patton Stakes victory was worth 20 points for Mendelssohn on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
The son of Scat Daddy, Mendelssohn is now tied with Gronkowski. With Gronkowski set to make his next start in the U.S. in either the Blue Grass or Wood Memorial, and Mendelssohn scheduled to run in the UAE Derby in Dubai March 31, another colt that wins the Burradon at Newcastle (GB) on March 30 will have first chance at the European slot in the Kentucky Derby.
The seven-race European Road to the Kentucky Derby was created by Churchill Downs in an attempt to further internationalize the track’s signature race. The last race in the series, the Burradon, is worth 51 points distributed 30-12-6-3.
However Mendelssohn, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November at Del Mar, is going to make his next start in Dubai and need a 1st or 2nd place finish in the UAE Derby, a Kentucky Derby qualifying race, to make the field for the Kentucky Derby.
“The plan was to come here then go to Dubai and then hopefully the Kentucky Derby," said O’Brien, who has used the UAE Derby as a final prep for his charges in the past on the way to Churchill Downs.
Learn more about the Patton with these indepth stories: