Betting a Kentucky Derby Favorite Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn is Classy Colt Worth Betting in Kentucky Derby

The 2017 Kentucky Derby post-time favorite won the race for the 5th year in a row. But when big longshots of 33-1 and 40-1 finished 2nd and 3rd, it triggered some big payouts in the $2 exact ($334), trifecta ($16,594) and life-changing superfecta ($151,949).

We keyed last year’s post-time favorite Always Dreaming on top and also hit some exotic payouts. This year we’re keying in on Mendelssohn as our top choice, and will be adding some other contenders and longshots looking to make a bigger score. Mendelssohn 5-1 on the morning line for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, and we’re holding win tickets on him already at 12-1.


4-1-0 in 7 starts

Nearly $2 million in earnings

Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

Horse bettors often salivate over the potential returns on their exotic wagers on the Kentucky Derby. Last year’s Derby produced those huge returns and results. Ever since Mendelssohn’s record-breaking UAE Derby win by more than 18 lengths, bettors have been salivating over this beautiful beast. No European horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby. But odds are favorable that Mendelssohn may break through as a classy colt in America’s most popular race and the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Mendelssohn won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last November in his only start in the U.S., but any issues about shipping for the Kentucky Derby should not be a concern. Following the Breeders’ Cup, he shipped back to Ireland and won the Patton Stakes at Dundalk, his sixth straight race on turf. Three weeks later on March 31, Mendelssohn shipped to Dubai and made his jaw-dropping dirt debut in a track-record UAE Derby victory.

Mendelssohn took advantage of his Dubai trip and exploded to an 18 length victory in the UAE Derby, earning a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the process; the second fastest of all Derby prep runners behind Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. His final Derby prep performance, closing speed and class has earned Mendelssohn the accolade of being one of the favorites for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

Key Speed Figures and Stats for Mendelssohn

  • Final 3/8 mile time in the UAE Derby :37.59 seconds
  • Record time in UAE Derby with 106 Beyer Speed Figure
  • Keeneland sales topper $3 million purchase in 2016
  • 4 Wins and a 2nd place finish in 7 Career Starts with nearly $2 million in Earnings

Mendelssohn was the highest-priced American yearling in 2016, a $3 million purchase at the Keeneland September sale. Yearlings do not sell for that high of a price unless they are essentially flawless physically and mentally and boast a promising pedigree. Scat Daddy is his sire, and Mendelssohn is out of the 2016 Broodmare of the Year, Leslie’s Lady.

Prior to the UAE Derby, Mendelssohn was offered at 28-1 odds in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. He dropped to 12-1 following the race and was made the 5-1 second choice for the Kentucky Derby by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia following the post-position draw.

Beyond the money spent for Mendelssohn, he appears to be ready for another magnificent performance and should show his class in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Mendelssohn is a very experienced colt who has already raced successfully in America, Europe and Dubai. A 20 horse field clearly presents some potential problems and many Derby runners have encountered troubled trips. How Mendelssohn copes with facing dirt kickback for the first time could be a concern. A bit of racing luck is often needed to complete the Derby Dreams and wear the Roses. But Mendelssohn should get an ideal voyage tracking the pacesetting trio to his inside of Justify, Promises Fulfilled and Flameaway. Most horsemen believe this year’s Derby will be fast up front with plenty of speed pressing the pacesetters. Trainer Aidan O’Brien says Mendelssohn is naturally quick with a lot of early tactical speed. He should be able to use it to his advantage and settle into stalking position just off the pace following his break from post 14.

Aiden O’Brien is a world-class trainer, Ryan Moore is a world-class rider and Mendelssohn is a world-class horse with high cruising speed, dirt pedigree and lots of class and stamina.  They’ve arrived for the world-class race at Churchill Downs in search of Derby Dreams. We like their chances quite a bit in the Run for the Roses. The M&M combination of Mendelssohn and Moore are a good bet to make history and money for their backers in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. You can bet on it.


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