Mendelssohn is set to embark on a return trip to the U.S. Monday that his connections hope will make him the first European-trained winner of the Kentucky Derby. The Irish Field, established in 1870 and Ireland’s only newspaper dedicated to racing and equestrian sports, is teaming up with This Is Horse Racing to follow Mendelssohn’s historic bid for the Derby.
The Irish Field’s daily coverage of the 144th Kentucky Derby started in Saturday’s print edition with Tom Law’s article “Mendelssohn could be off the scale in Kentucky” and will continue through the week from Churchill Downs and beyond. Here’s a portion of Saturday’s story, plus information on how to sign up to read other articles from The Irish Field.
Mendelssohn could be off the scale in Kentucky
THE Kentucky Derby is one of the great prizes in American sport, not unlike the Super Bowl or Final Four or Indianapolis 500 in being a cultural phenomena that crosses over socioeconomic lines and filters into the minds of millions of US citizens come the first Saturday each May.
The race dubbed the “most exciting two minutes in sports” also heavily slants toward the home team, its 143 winners often being some of the best thoroughbreds the nation has ever produced, yet the Derby is not exclusive to Americans. Twice the Derby trophy was plumbed by horses based outside the US and Ireland’s Mendelssohn will attempt to be the third when he crosses the Atlantic on a journey back to Kentucky.
Mendelssohn represents owners Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier and Derrick Smith, trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore. He’ll try to do what European stars like Johannesburg, trained like Mendelssohn at Ballydoyle, Arazi, Dr. Devious and Bold Arrangement couldn’t do and win the $2 million Kentucky Derby.
A blueprint exists for success in America’s great race, but it’s not from Europe. No, it’s from of all places South America and Puerto Rico.
Similarities exist between Canonero II’s victory in 1971 and Bold Forbes’ win in 1976 in that both those colts were bred in Kentucky, sold at auction in the Bluegrass State, raced overseas before returning to the US, raced overseas again and brought back for the opening jewel of the American Triple Crown.
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