Mendelssohn, the $3 million sale topper at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, has some big horse shoes to fill. Not only did he come with a hefty tag, but the chestnut colt is a half-brother to Beholder, two time Breeders' Cup Distaff winner and four-time Eclipse Award winner.
The Kentucky-bred Scat Daddy colt was bred and consigned by Clarkland Farm. He was most expensive yearling sold at public auction in North America last year.
“He is an unbelievable individual with a great disposition and mind that you dream to have,” said Clarkland's Fred Mitchell after the sale. “He had a special look in his eye from the time he was two months old.”
In his first start at The Curragh, he was eighth going over seven furlongs. In his next start, rider Ryan Moore sent him to the lead, and despite veering in deep stretch, he broke his maiden by a length.
“He was green here the first day and was still very green here,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said after the win. “He’ll probably take another run or two before he starts to click into gear mentally, but Ryan was very happy with him. He was looking at everything, but he’s a horse who notices everything and he’s a bit babyish. Coming up there in front would have done him the world of good and hopefully he’ll progress.”
He did not progress in his first stakes attempt, the Champagne Stakes where he was seventh, but turned in a good effort in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in mid-October, coming under the wire second behind stablemate US Navy Flag.
He races out of the powerful O'Brien Stables for owners Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor.