A Kentucky-bred son of Scat Daddy, Mendelssohn finished second to top Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) contender US Navy Flag in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1) Oct. 14 at Newmarket. In the same race Mendelssohn extracted revenge on Seahenge, who had beaten him in their previous start in the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes (G2).
Mendelssohn attracted a lot of attention early as the highest-priced yearling at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, where M.V. Magnier bought him for $3 million from Clarkland Farm, who bred the colt. The price wasn't surprising, because Mendelssohn is a half brother to Beholder, who won 10 grade 1 stakes and earned three championship titles by the time he stepped into the auction ring.
Mendelssohn is owned by longtime partners Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor. The partners have campaigned eight Breeders' Cup winners to date, with Tabor and Magnier having captured an additional three together.
Other top European competitors entered in the Juvenile Turf include James Garfield, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (G2) and trained by George Scott; Beckford, winner of the GAIN Railway Stakes (G2) and second in two group 1s at the Curragh for trainer Gordon Elliott; and Masar who has never finished off the board. Masar won the Betbright Solario Stakes (G3) and finished third in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Stakes (G1) for trainer Charles Appleby.
Two U.S.-based Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" qualifiers are in the race: Untamed Domain, winner of the Summer Stakes (G2T) at Woodbine, and Flameaway, who won an off-the-turf running of the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland.
Untamed Domain is a son of top-10 freshman sire Animal Kingdom and trained by Graham Motion, who conditioned Animal Kingdom to victories in the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and the 2013 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1). Bred by Clearsky Farm in Kentucky, the colt was acquired by West Point Thoroughbreds for $90,000 out of the 2016 Keeneland September sale.
Out of black-type turf winner Ciao (Lear Fan), Untamed Domain has made every start on the grass. He broke his maiden in his second start, going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga Race Course and was a close third in his first graded stakes start in the With Anticipation Stakes (G3T), in which he followed Catholic Boy and Irish Territory. He now has two wins and third out of four starts all on firm turf and has earned $165,600.
"I feel very good about running him, though I'm a little startled at how competitive the Europeans seem to be this year," Motion said. "It seems like a very deep group with solid group form. We kind of rolled the dice a little bit by running him in Canada and taking a shot in that 'Win and You're In' race. I felt he came out of the With Anticipation so well that he was able to come back in three weeks. I was also worried, as you get into the fall, about what kind of turf you're going to get at Belmont and Keeneland. As it is, the Keeneland race came off, so it worked out well that he's had plenty of time to freshen heading into this race."
Flameaway is a turf horse who has yet to make a start on the lawn, though trainer Mark Casse has tried. The Scat Daddy colt, raced by owner/breeder John Oxley, broke his maiden by 2 1/2 lengths at first asking on Woodbine's all-weather main track. Flameaway's next start was in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga, which got rained off the turf. He won the Skidmore on a muddy sealed track. After an unplaced finish in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) on Churchill Downs' main track, the team tried again for the surface they felt suited him best, only to be rained out again in the Bourbon.
"We give every horse a chance on the dirt, but being a son of Scat Daddy, we felt he'd get his best chance once we got him on the turf," said David Carroll, assistant trainer for Casse. "He's filling out and training well. We could not be any happier with him going into the race. Now we wait for the draw and see if he's good enough."
Flameaway had a maintenance work at Keeneland Oct. 27, with Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) winner Heavenly Love. He went four furlongs in :47 2/5 and galloped out to five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
Catholic Boy has also been entered in the Juvenile Turf. The son of More Than Ready , raced by Robert LaPenta and trained by Jonathan Thomas, is undefeated in two starts.
Del Mar, Friday, November 03, 2017, Race 8
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Mendelssohn (KY) Ryan L. Moore 122 Aidan P. O'Brien 8/1 2 2Untamed Domain (KY) Jose L. Ortiz 122 H. Graham Motion 8/1 3 3Sands of Mali (FR) Flavien Prat 122 Richard Fahey 30/1 4 4Catholic Boy (KY) Manuel Franco 122 Jonathan Thomas 12/1 5 5Beckford (GB) Joel Rosario 122 Gordon Elliott 8/1 6 6Masar (IRE) William T. Buick 122 Charles Appleby 9/2 7 7James Garfield (IRE) Lanfranco Dettori 122 George W. Scott 6/1 8 8Voting Control (KY) Javier Castellano 122 Chad C. Brown 8/1 9 9Encumbered (KY) Mario Gutierrez 122 Simon Callaghan 15/1 10 10Flameaway (ON) Julien R. Leparoux 122 Mark E. Casse 20/1 11 11Snapper Sinclair (KY) Ricardo Santana, Jr. 122 Steven M. Asmussen 15/1 12 12Hemp Hemp Hurray (ON) John R. Velazquez 122 Wesley A. Ward 8/1 13 13My Boy Jack (KY) Kent J. Desormeaux 122 J. Keith Desormeaux 8/1 14 14Rajasinghe (IRE) Stephen Donohoe 122 Richard Spencer 30/1 15 15Tap Daddy (KY) Florent Geroux 122 Steven M. Asmussen 20/1 16 16Pubilius Syrus (KY) Corey S. Nakatani 122 Vladimir Cerin 20/1
Del Mar, Friday, November 03, 2017, Race 8