Mendelsshon 3rd at Belmont

Mendelssohn with Ryan Moore up. DUBAIN RACING CLUB

By John Manley

Chasing a suicidal pace proved injurious to Mendelssohn’s chances of winning Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old Aidan O’Brien protégé set after Diversify through six-furlong fractions in a 10-furlong race and paid the price in the final furlong, long after Diversify (the odds-on choice) had spit the bit. Mendelssohn, ridden by Ryan Moore, settled for third place, two lengths behind 45-1 Discreet Lover.

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Mendelssohn will likely get another crack at Grade 1 company on American soil in next month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Linda Shanahan and Susan Magnier’s A Bit Special earned stakes laurels when she came home three lengths in front in the Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The 2-year-old filly had broken her maiden first time out and then narrowly missed in a stakes race at this venue four weeks ago. Stretching out to a mile here, jockey Romero Maragh didn’t allow her to fall as far off the pace as she had in her two previous outings. She had to rally only from midpack after chasing through modest fractions. Much the best, she justified her favoritism and paid $6.00 to win.

Todd Pletcher reached out to Fergal Lynch when seeking a jockey for Calumet Farms’ Channel Cat in Saturday’s Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel, and the Derry native justified the choice, getting his mount home almost six lengths in front. Channel Cat let the favorite set the pace, but reeled that one in with about three furlongs to run in this 12-furlong test, drawing away under a vigorous ride from Lynch. Channel Cat paid $6.20 to win.

A rainy Monday at Delaware Park didn't dampen Michelle Nevin or Kieron Magee's outlooks. They both sent out popular winners on the card. Kallenberg Farms' Forever Liesl had shown a distinct preference for sloppy racing surfaces, so she was aces in the eighth race, a third-level allowance optional claiming route. She sat off the early pace and moved rounding for home, drawing away under Victor Carrasco to win by six lengths. She paid $5.40.

Magee saddled Erin McElwee's Pleiadian first time off the claim back and the 8-year-old gelding led all the way under Carol Cedeno, holding fast by just over a length against $4,000 claiming stock racing around two turns. Pleiadian, which paid $4.00 to win, has been a popular item at the claim box, but went untouched here.

The toteboard said that John Ennis was sending out the caboose in Wednesday's fifth race at Indiana Grand. The public let Calvin Crain's Tommytom, a 3-year-old homebred gelding, go off at 28-1, the longest odds on the board, in this first-level allowance/optional claiming sprint on the grass. Tommytom had been a respectable third against similar, including the odds-on choice here, four weeks ago. Bumped coming out of the starting gate, Tommytom's dander was up and he rallied under Santo Sanjur to get a head down on the 17-1 second-longest shot at the wire. Tommytom paid $59.60 to win and keyed a $444.40 exacta.