Mendelssohn Gives O’Brien, Moore Fourth BC Juvenile Turf Victory

Coolmore’s Mendelssohn went off the tepid 9-2 favorite in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, but proved he was a good investment with a stylish one-length win under Ryan Moore. Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who along with Moore is now a four-time winner of this race, saddled the 2-year-old son of Scat Daddy to his first graded stakes victory. Moore managed to get the Kentucky-bred colt to the outside early, settling just off the hip of the frontrunner Sands of Mali, then came with a big burst in the stretch to complete a mile on Del Mar’s firm turf in 1:35.97. Untaimed Domain came from well back to run second, with Voting Control just besting Catholic Boy for third.

“He’s progressed with every race,” said O’Brien, who improves his record-setting season to a total of 27 Group/Grade 1 winners. “We were afraid to change him up, so we kept him on the grass. He’s stepped up every time. This is marvelous. It’s been a big team effort this year.”

Drawn in the innermost post of the 14-horse field, Mendelssohn had little choice but to be sent toward the front at the start of the race. Moore found himself three-abreast with Sands of Mali and Flameaway, and was able to convince Mendelssohn to settle for several strides approaching the first turn.

Sands of Mali and Flavien Prat jumped forward to a 1 1/2-length lead, allowing Moore just enough time to swing to the leader’s outside slightly before the rest of the pack could get close. Flameaway was still there on his outside, giving Moore just enough cover to keep his colt quiet down the backstretch.

Through fractions of :22.83 and :46.87, Sands of Mali’s advantage slowly shrank as he ran down the backstretch. Entering the turn, Moore allowed Mendelssohn just a hint of rein and the colt began to unfurl his long stride. Suddenly Mendelssohn was a length in front of the field at the head of the stretch, striding away easily.

Moore rode him fairly quietly through the wire after having gotten the jump on the field, allowing Untamed Domain to close the gap on the winning Mendelssohn to a single length. It was just a half-length back to Voting Control, and another head to Catholic Boy.

“We made the best of the draw in number one,” said Moore. “He ran a good race at Newmarket and he quickened well today.”

Bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm, Mendelssohn is his breeders’ fourth Breeders’ Cup winner; they also bred Beholder. The half-brother to Beholder was a $3 million yearling at the Keeneland September sale. He’d made four starts overseas, including a second in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf improves his record to two wins from five starts. Mendelssohn has now earned $706,652 in his young career, and O’Brien suggested that the colt could be pointed to the Kentucky Derby in the spring.

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