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Kentucky Derby Betting: A lot was expected out of Mendelssohn. He was the highest-priced yearling of 2016, selling for $3 million, and he has been billed as a top horse since then.
However, Americans have not gotten much of a chance to see the horse. He was taken overseas by his owners and ran almost exclusively outside of North America. Mendelssohn ran four races in the United Kingdom before coming back to this side of the world.
His performance at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year was impressive. Mendelssohn finished first, beating out a couple horses that are expected to run at the Kentucky Derby. From there, he went back across the Atlantic to crush the field by 18 lengths at the UAE Derby.
The Kentucky Derby will go to post on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 6:34 p.m. ET at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Catch the Kentucky Derby live on NBC.
Career Record: 4-1-0
Career Earnings: $1,961,137
Kentucky Derby Points: 100
Kentucky Derby Odds at BookMaker.eu: +622
Mendelssohn was sired by the same horse that sired the Kentucky Derby favorite Justify. Scat Daddy has had a fantastic career as a stud and Mendelssohn is just another of his fantastic progeny. His mare is Leslie Lady.
The trainer for Mendelssohn is Aidan O’Brien. O’Brien prefers to have his horses run in Europe, so he hasn’t been to Churchill Downs often. He has not had a horse finish better than fifth in his five previous appearances.
His jockey for this race will be Ryan Moore. Moore is relatively inexperienced at the Kentucky Derby as well. He has only rode once before this, finishing seventh on Lines of Battle back in 2013.
Why Mendelssohn Will Win the Kentucky Derby
The two times this horse has taken part in big races, he has been mighty impressive. Mendelssohn’s performance at Del Mar was nothing to sneeze at. He hung around the leaders and then took over down the stretch finishing a length ahead of the competition.
Why Mendelssohn Won't Win the Kentucky Derby
Mendelssohn has only faced a good field once despite participating in seven races. The UAE Derby had a big prize pool, but there weren’t a lot of quality horses at the race and he easily romped over an outclassed field.
That was his one race on a dirt track. His six previous races were all on turf, and that inexperience on a different surface is concerning. The fact that he wasn’t tested on dirt, and that Louisville and Dubai have very different weather, means this may as well be his first time running a competitive race on dirt.
The Final Verdict
There’s a lot of hype around Mendelssohn, but the inexperience on dirt is a major concern to mean. European turf horses typically don’t fare well at the Kentucky Derby, and I have a hard time seeing Mendelssohn hit the board.
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