©2018 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The European road to Kentucky Derby (G1) glory continues Friday at Dundalk Racecourse in Dundalk County Louth, Ireland. A herd of eight runners will go to post with MENDELSSOHN tagged as 5-2 Twinspires.com morning line favorite in the all-weather Patton Stakes.
Mendelssohn comes into this race with a 2-1-0 record in five starts including a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G1) last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
MENDELSSOHN sent inside, saved ground stalking the pace, came out a bit in the upper stretch, bid outside the pacesetter in mid-stretch, gained the advantage nearing the sixteenth pole, inched clear and held gamely under urging.
Mendelssohn raced along the rail but moved clear in the stretch to get up for his first stakes win in a final time of 1:35.97.
Scat Daddy, the sire of Mendelssohn, was a multiple graded stakes winner who compiled a 5-1-1 record in nine starts with $1,334,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Scat Daddy was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Sanford Stakes (G2) and Champagne Stakes (G1), and he finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1).
In his season debut as a 3-year-old, Scat Daddy finished third in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and followed up with wins in the 9 furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) in route to a eighteenth-place finish in the Derby.
His best runners on the Derby Trail include Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, El Kabeir, Frac Daddy, Azar and Dice Flavor who was my long shot pick to win the 2013 El Camino Real Derby (G3).
Mendelssohn has a low E Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index makes him competitive and I look for him to run a good rac.
A long shot I like is BLACKGOLD FAIRY (12-1) who comes into this race off an impressive maiden win at Dundalk on February 23. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
BLACKGOLD FAIRY soon led, pushed out to assert one furlong out, kept on strongly final furlong, easily
In just her second start, Blackgold Fairy looked breaking her maiden to win by an impressive 6½ lengths.
More Than Ready, the sire of Blackgold Fairy, was a multiple graded-stakes winner that compiled a 7-4-1 record in 17 starts with $1,026,229 in earnings. He won the WHAS-11 Stakes, Flash Stakes, Tremont Stakes (G3), Sanford Stakes (G2), Hutcheson Stakes (G2) and finished second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) in route to a fourth-place finish in the 2000 Kentucky Derby (G1).
At stud, More Than Ready made quite a mark in Australia with his sons Phelan Ready and Sebring who were champion 2-year-colts with over $2 million in career earnings. Some of his best runners in America have been the turf-sprinter Regally Ready with over $1 million in career earnings and Pluck, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2) and Summer Stakes (G3) with $727,290 in career earnings, and Verrazano.
Blackgold Fairy has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and she has room to improve in her second start of the season.
THREEANDFOURPENCE (4-1) comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in three starts including a fourth-place finish in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
THREEANDFOURPENCE dwelt in touch, pushed along three furlongs out, ridden over one furlong out, stayed on to go third inside final furlong until near finish.
Threeandfourpence came from the back of the herd to narrowly miss third place by a head to Seahenge who is also entered in the Patton Stakes.
War Front, the sire of Threeandfourpence, was a graded-stakes winner of the 8½-furlong Princelet Stakes which he won by 8-lengths in a final time of 1:41.79. However, most of War Front’s other races were in sprints where he had a penchant for finishing second. But, he did win the 6-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) by 2½-lengths.
At stud, War Front sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2), and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
He sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).
War Front’s lifetime top runners include: Lines of Battle, Departing, Declaration of War, Warning Flag, Lancaster Bomber, Summer Front, War Dancer, Roly Poly, Avenge, Jack Milton, Air Force Blue, Data Link and Hit it a Bomb.
Threeandfourpence also has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and, despite the layoff, I look for him to run a good race.
Honorable mention goes to Ship of Dreams.
This is the sixth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a point system to determine eligibility to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. A total of 36 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a significant change to the schedule is the addition of the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on December 17.
In addition to the Japan road to the Derby which features the Cattleya Sho Stakes (November 25), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushan Stakes (December 13) and Hayacinth Stakes (February 2018), Churchill Downs has added a European road to Derby glory consisting of seven races: Juddmonte Beresford (September 24), Juddmonte Royal Lodge (September 30), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (October 1), Racing Post Trophy (October 28, Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (March 1), Patton (March 2) and the Burradon (March 30).
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
1. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 20, Aidan O’Brien, $245,017
2. *GRONKOWSKI, 20, Jeremy Noseda, $43,235
3. Roaring Lion (USA), 14, John Gosden, $136,807
4. f-Happily (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $543,648
5. Court House (IRE), 8, John Gosden, $12,946
6. Olmedo (FR), 4, Jean-Claude Rouget, $113,505
7. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
8. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
9. Fortune’s Pearl (IRE), 4, Andrew Balding, $8,273
10. Masar (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $101,264
11. The Pentagon (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $71.981
12. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
13. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
14. Verbal Dexterity (IRE), 1, Jim Bolger, $280,269
15. Kew Gardens (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $28,605
16. Woodmax (GER), 1, Nicolas Clement, $23,610
17. Petrus (IRE), 1, Brian Meehan, $7,182
*Gronkowski is the only horse nominated for the Triple Crown on the European Leaderboard.