July 16, 2018

Breeders’ Cup Classic, and return to Churchill Downs, in the cards for Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn's Kentucky Derby adventure was over early (Photo by Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) romper Mendelssohn came out of his last-place run in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) in good order, according to head traveling lad Pat Keating, and boarded a Sallee Horse Van Sunday morning at 8:50 a.m. (ET) from Churchill Downs to catch a flight back to his Ballydoyle base in County Tipperary, Ireland.

“He’s fine; all’s good,” Keating reported.

Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s Scat Daddy colt lost all chance in Kentucky Derby 144 after being bumped hard by Instilled Regard after that one was bumped into by Magnum Moon. The chain reaction took Mendelssohn out of his game and he never recovered.

After steadying in traffic, jockey Ryan Moore was forced to ride the bay colt hard into the first turn while wide. He finished the race but was eased under the wire to be last in the 20-horse field over a sloppy, sealed track.

Mendelssohn isn’t done with Churchill Downs and U.S. racing, though. Winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), trainer Aidan O’Brien confirmed the Kentucky-bred colt’s year-end goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in the fall at Churchill.

Justify, Audible, Instilled Regard and Hofburg on the gallop out after Kentucky Derby 144 at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5, 2018 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was up early Sunday morning, arriving at the barn around 3:30 a.m. to check on his Kentucky Derby fourth-place runner Instilled Regard before flying back to his base in California.

The dark bay son of Arch exited the race in good order, according to assistant trainer Christina Jelm, who said Instilled Regard “looked like he wanted to go around again.”

Jelm added that the sophomore will receive a 30-day freshening at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Kentucky.

“He has had a pretty strenuous eight-race schedule and there are plenty of races this summer like Haskell (G1) and Travers (G1),” Jelm said. “He might do something like he did with Battle of Midway last year. But that’s up to Jerry and (owner) Larry (Best).”

Battle of Midway also ran third in last year’s Kentucky Derby, was given a brief break, then returned to take the Affirmed Stakes (G3) in June and conclude his career four races later with a half-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last fall.

My Boy Jack, fifth in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, is also likely to receive a break after racking up 11 career starts thus far, according to trainer Keith Desormeaux.

“I think he’s got to get a little break,” he said. “He’s had three tough races in six weeks and that might be enough for now. If he’d gotten close yesterday – say run second – I might have thought about pushing on him and considered the Preakness ([G1] in two weeks at Pimlico). But that’s not going to happen. We’ll take him home (to his Southern California base) and see what’s next.”

Desormeaux reflected on My Boy Jack’s run in Kentucky Derby 144 while holding the colt for a bath Sunday morning.

“We had a tough go of it in some ways,” he said. “He got stopped cold near the three-eighths pole. He had some cuts on his front legs and got banged on some. I think he got rapped by another horse’s leg when that happened.

“But I’m not really complaining. We have to accept that sort of thing is eligible to happen in a 20-horse field. You can’t get away from it.

“Even so, he came back on strong; made a good late run. I already had a lot of respect for him, but after yesterday I’ve got even more. He’s grown into a heckuva racehorse.”

Desormeaux is scheduled to leave for California on Monday with My Boy Jack following on Tuesday.

Hofburg and Lone Sailor, seventh and eighth, respectively in the Derby on Saturday, were also doing well on Sunday.

Trainer Bill Mott was undetermined about Hofburg’s next start, though he did say, ““Naturally we have to think about the Belmont (Stakes [G1] on June 9).”

Lone Sailor settled back in at the Churchill Barn of trainer Tom Amoss, who said, “We’re really proud of our horse,” while first-time Derby rider James Graham commented, “It was a lot of fun. We got a little unlucky but that was so cool to experience that.”

The field breaks from the gate in the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5, 2018 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Trainer Jason Servis said Sunday morning that Firenze Fire “gave us a thrill” in his 11th-place Kentucky Derby run.

“It looked like he was going to make a little run there, but it was too far for him,” Servis said. “I’ll meet with (owner/breeder) Ron (Lombardi) and regroup and shorten him up a little.”

Firenze Fire was scheduled to ship to Belmont Park Sunday afternoon.

Bolt d’Oro scoped clean after his 12th-place effort in Derby 144 for owner/trainer Mick Ruis. He’s scheduled to ship back to Santa Anita Park Tuesday with the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar his late summer focus.

“He’s walking fine and he ate up last night,” assistant trainer Aimee Dollase said.

Flameaway could be headed to the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine after finishing 13th in Kentucky Derby for trainer Mark Casse and owner John C. Oxley.

“He’s a Canadian-bred, so if all goes well I would probably give him one start before the Queen’s Plate,” Casse said. “He’ll probably go to Woodbine, I don’t know, it’s still early and I want to talk to the Oxleys and hear their thoughts. If we are going to try and win the Queen’s Plate I think him being at Woodbine would make the most sense.”

Casse said he noticed Flameaway took a “funny step” in Saturday’s Derby when watching the replay but that the Scat Daddy chestnut seemed fine Sunday.

“He was running well, and (jockey) Jose (Lezcano) said at the half-mile pole he kind of acted funny,” Casse explaind. “And then I watched the replay, he stayed on his left lead until about the eighth-pole, and when he switched to his right lead he took a funny step, or I think he may have been just exhausted. But when we got him back last night he was fine, so I’m hoping he’ll be OK.”

Enticed exited his Kentucky Derby 14th-place finish with “a couple of little nicks” according to assistant trainer Neal McLaughlin.

“It was just a rough run race with 20 horses and a lot of bumping going on,” said McLaughlin, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s brother. “He caught a couple of little nicks but nothing bad. He ate up last night and everything looks good.”

Unlikely for the Preakness, Enticed was scheduled to ship to Saratoga Sunday afternoon.

“I would be doubtful. If we had run one-two in the Derby we’d look to run back in the Preakness. Otherwise, it’s too quick back,” McLaughlin said. “The Travers would be the main goal; it’s just looking for the best spot to get him there. We’ll look at the Belmont and how it comes up and how many horses are left standing.”

Trainer Dale Romans reported Sunday that his Kentucky Derby runners – Promises Fulfilled and Free Drop Billy – were “both fine” one day after finishing 15th and 16th, respectively.

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said the same in regards to Derby 17th-place finisher Combatant.

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