The Aiden O’Brien trained Mendelssohn is looking for redemption with his third trip to the U.S. when he is sent off as the morning line favorite in Saturday’s $300,000 Dwyer (G3) at Belmont Park.
The Dwyer is the first of five graded stakes on the Stars & Stripes Day card at Belmont Park. NBC will televise the first three stakes in a 90-minute telecast at 4:30 ET and Fox Sports 2 picks up the action for an hour at 6:00 ET.
The other stakes on the card are the $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G2), $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1), $700,000 Suburban (G2) and the $1.2 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1).
Mendelssohn is one of four shipping in from overseas for O’Brien. The colt was off to a poor start, had traffic troubles and was eased in the stretch in the Kentucky Derby (G1) where he was sent off as the third choice.
The colt earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his 18 ½ length romp in the UAE Derby (G2) in his previous start. His first start in the U.S. came last fall where he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Among his foes are two other Kentucky Derby also rans—11th place finisher Firenze Fire (6-1) and 17th place finisher Noble Indy (7-2).
The second choice on the morning line at 2-1 is the up and coming Rugbyman, who was beaten a neck in the Easy Goer in his stakes debut at Belmont park on June 9.
O’Brien will also saddle longshot Seahenge (15-1) who was seventh in the Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby Day undercard.
Completing the field are Seven Trumpets (10-1), who beat optional claimers last out and recent maiden winner Fixedincome Larry (20-1).
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured betting race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 6 The Dwyer G3 (Post time 4:36 ET)
#6 Mendelssohn 8-5
#4 Noble Indy 7-2
#3 Rugbyman 2-1
#7 Firenze Fire 6-1
Analysis: Mendelssohn came into the Run for the Roses off an 18 1/2 length win in the UAE Derby (G2) and despite that race not having produced anything as far as the first jewel of the Triple Crown is concerned, this colt took some play, sent off at just under 7-1, the third choice in the race. The colt was bumped around and forced in coming out of the gate, was pushed along but had to steady nearing the 5/8’s and was eased in the stretch. The colt’s first trip to the U.S. was much better when he took the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar last fall.
O’Brien could have found him a spot overseas, perhaps at Royal Ascot, but instead tries dirt again here. He is bred to like dirt, a half to stakes winners Beholder ($6.1 million) and Into Mischief ($597,080). I did not think he had much of a shot in the Derby, but he fits here. He earned a 106 Beyer for his UAE Derby win which was aided by a racing strip that was playing to inside speed.
Noble Indy brushed the gate at the break in the Derby and Castellano elected not to send him early much to the chagrin of owner Mike Repole, who recently bought out WinStar, who of course also campaigns Justify. The blinkers go on and there is a jock switch to Johnny V. There is not much speed in here and expect to see this guy on the front. His last two were not pretty but he was a game winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2) three back earning a competitive number. Pletcher is 28% winners with adding blinkers.
Rugbyman stalked the early pace and battled on gamely in the stretch but could not get by the more seasoned winner, coming up a neck short in the Easy Goer. His trainer Motion said he is still a bit green and has just three starts under his belt. If he focuses better with the hood added he is a danger to be in the mix in this spot. He has a nice pedigree, by Tapit out of the stakes winner Zaftig ($236,727).
WIN: #6 to win at 9-5 or better.
EX: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7
TRI: 4,6 / 3,4,6,7 / 2,3,4,6,7