Mendelssohn departed Ballydoyle Stables in Tipperary Monday and was expected on the grounds at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET. Saturday the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt will attempt to become the first European-trained horse to win the Kentucky Derby.

The Irish Field and This Is Horse Racing are teaming up to produce a Kentucky Derby Diary tracking Mendelssohn’s historic bid. Each daily installment will focus on the exciting Irish challenger and the first is on the Scat Daddy colt’s breeders Fred and Nancy Mitchell.


The Breeders

A saturating rain pelted the roof one day last week as Nancy Mitchell eased into her sun-room recliner facing a field a mares, Fred Mitchell took a spot on the couch for a rare quiet moment, Marty Buckner paid some bills and finished some paperwork and Ernie Ernst checked the weather via radar on his computer.

Just another day at Clarkland Farm in north Lexington in the heart of the Bluegrass? Maybe, but these are anything but average days for the family owned and run farm that goes back further than U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

The reason is Mendelssohn, the latest pride and joy to come off the farm that produced what rival operations might see as a disproportionate number of top-class racehorses throughout its history. Mendelssohn, Coolmore’s representative in this year’s Kentucky Derby, flies the flag for the Mitchells and Clarkland after topping the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale and winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and UAE Derby to earn his return trip to America.

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