Wednesday’s Derby Diary: Significant tests await

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Obstacles are everywhere this week at Churchill Downs. A stroll through the barn area just after sun up Wednesday morning revealed plenty – cars, golf carts, occasional people on bicycles, plenty more folks on foot, cats and even chickens dot the expanse of asphalt, concrete, cinderblock, wood and dirt.

The Kentucky Derby is only three days away now and it already feels like the first Saturday in May in Louisville. Horses come and go before the allotted 15-minute training window for Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby horses.

Perhaps the only quiet spot on the grounds is Barn 17, the specified quarantine facility and temporary home to the Ballydoyle contingent led by Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn, who drew post 14 and is the 5-1 early second choice for the Derby, hasn’t come out of Barn 17 since he arrived late Monday night and wasn’t expected to until clearing quarantine Wednesday afternoon. A yellow sign hangs on the concrete outside wall of the barn that reads: “Warning: Export Animal Facility. No admittance of unauthorized persons” and around the clock security keeps watch of anyone who might think of going in, whether they want to or not.

To read the rest of Wednesday’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 third is on Mendelssohn’s expected release from quarantine.