Tuesday’s Derby Diary: On the scene

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Mendelssohn touched down in Louisville Monday evening, returning to his native state where he’ll bid to become the first European winner of the Kentucky Derby and add another major prize to his late sire’s glistening resume.

Ireland’s representative in this year’s $2 million Kentucky Derby, set to be run for the 144th time on Saturday at Churchill Downs, is one of four runners in the field sired by the late Scat Daddy along with undefeated morning-line favorite Justify, Flameaway and Combatant. Mendelssohn is a member of the second to last crop of Scat Daddy, who died walking out of his paddock at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, in mid-December 2015.

Scat Daddy was 11 at the time of his death and in the midst of a significant upswing as a stallion, leading the first-crop sires list in 2011 and close to siring his 70th stakes winner. He’s now approaching 100 stakes winners and ranks fourth on the North American general sires list with eight crops of racing age.

“It’s heartbreaking when you think about what he is accomplishing,” said Todd Pletcher, who trained Scat Daddy for James Scatuorchio and Coolmore. “He was just hitting his prime and getting the quality of mares that would help get him to this point. You hate to lose those kind of horses that early.”

To read the rest of Tuesday’s Derby Diary, log in to The Irish Field.

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 second is on the colt’s late sire Scat Daddy.