OwnerTabor, Michael B. Magnier Mrs. John and Smith Derrick
TrainerAidan P. O'Brien
Aptly named for the prominent German composer of the early 1800s, Mendelssohn was almost as famous for his vocal antics as he was for his racing accomplishments. Since his American debut at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup where he won the Juvenile Turf, he amused everyone around him with his whinnying and screaming all the way to and from the racetrack both in the morning and afternoon.
Fortunately, for Mendelssohn, he has been able to back up his vocal talents with strong performances on the racetrack. Owned by the Irish powerhouse Coolmore and trained one of the world’s top trainers, Aidan O’Brien, he was the $3 million sales topper at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale and has lived up to his early expectations as the son of top sire Scat Daddy and Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady. His half-sister is three-time Breeders’ Cup winner and multiple champion Beholder.
Following his one length victory in the Breeders’ Cup, Mendelssohn’s connections set their site on the Kentucky Derby and the path they chose to get there was through Dubai. Making his debut on dirt, Mendelssohn turned in one of the most impressive prep races when he demolished the field of the UAE Derby by 18 ½ lengths in track record time.
The wet track was Mendelssohn’s undoing in the Kentucky Derby and he was eased to the wire after a troubled trip, but the world traveler, who was based in Ireland, rebounded to finish third in the Dwyer Stakes at New York’s Belmont Park July 7. With O’Brien setting sights on a run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, Mendelssohn was started in two prep races. The first was the 1 ¼-mileTravers Stakes (G1) in Saratoga in August, where he led the pack for the first mile, and held on for second behind Catholic Boy. The second prep was in The Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in late September, in which he again secured an early lead, but was passed in the stretch and finished third.
One month later, Mendelssohn attempted to become the first horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race on both turf and dirt. Starting from the ninth post position in the 14 horses-field of the $6 million Classic at Churchill, Mendelssohn broke from the gate well under jockey Ryan Moore and controlled the pace on the front end into the stretch before being passed by eventual winner Accelerate. Mendelssohn finished fifth. His final career start was in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on December 2, where he finished fourth. Two days later, Mendelssohn was retired to Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, to begin stallion duty in 2019.