Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) winner Mendelssohn and two other sophomores in the care of trainer Aidan O'Brien are being considered for the enhanced European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Mendelssohn, Seahenge, and Threeandfourpence could run in either the March 1 Kentucky Derby Conditions Race at Kempton Park or the March 2 listed Patton Stakes at Dundalk, according to Coolmore. Closer to these races, O'Brien has said he will decide where each of the horses will start. O'Brien has won the Patton three times in the five-year history of the race with Gale Force Ten (2013), Washington DC (2016), and War Secretary (2017).
The one-mile races are run over synthetic, all-weather racing surfaces and will award qualifying points toward a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on a 20-8-4-2 scale. The final race on the European schedule, which included four races for 2-year-olds last fall, is the March 30 Burradon Stakes going a mile at Newcastle, which offers points on a 30-12-6-3 scale.
In addition to the qualifying races in Great Britain, another possibility—likely more so for Mendelssohn or Seahenge—is a start in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) March 31 on Meydan Racecourse's main dirt surface. The UAE Derby offers 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers and is part of the United States Road to the Kentucky Derby.
The European Road to the Kentucky Derby is a stand-alone series, separate from the U.S. Road. It will award one starting gate spot to the horse who accumulates the most points in the series and accepts a spot.
Both Mendelssohn and Seahenge are sons of Ashford Stud's late sire Scat Daddy, whose progeny excel on both turf and dirt. Both horses were bought by M.V. Magnier at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, where Mendelssohn topped the sale at $3 million and Seahenge was acquired for $750,000. Mendelssohn—a half brother to champion Beholder and sire Into Mischief —was bred and sold by Clarkland Farm, while Seahenge was bred by K & G Stable and sold by Lane's End. The colts are raced by longtime partners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. Threeandfourpence, a son of War Front , is a homebred racing for Evie Stockwell.
O'Brien has six nominated to the U.S. Triple Crown. The others include U S Navy Flag (War Front), Europe's champion 2-year-old after winning the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (G1) and Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1); Sioux Nation (Scat Daddy), whose best win to date came in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (G1) at the Curragh; and group 2-placed Murillo (Scat Daddy), who has not started since finishing third in the July 1 GAIN Railway Stakes (G2) at the Curragh.