Mondego to face international field in $750,000 Belmont Derby (G1)

Cheyenne Stables LLC’s 3-year-old colt Mondego (GB), winner of two straight races, will face a top-class field of turf horses when he goes postward in Saturday’s $750,000 Belmont Derby Inv. (G1).

The bay colt, a son of leading sire Lope de Vega (IRE), received an invitation to the 1 ¼-mile race following his gritty allowance win over the same course on June 2.

Mondego is one of four sophomores in the 11-horse field bred outside of the United States. Two of the quartet, Silver Knott (GB) and The Foxes (IRE) are both Group stakes winners on the turf overseas.

“It’s a bit ambitious, but he’s done well. He won his last two. This might be a good time to be ambitious,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “He’s very versatile and I think he can stay the mile and a quarter.”

Mondego’s dam Free Rein (GB) was unraced and is a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Reckless Abandon (GB). Third dam Argent Du Bois produced American Oaks (G1) and QEII Challenge Cup (G1) winner Ticker Tape, as well as Group 1 winner Brando, both millionaires.

Mondego, who drew post nine, has won two of four starts, with one second, and has earned $118,807. All four of his races have come at nine furlongs on the turf.

He’ll be ridden Saturday by Joel Rosario, who has been aboard for three of the colt’s outings. Post time for the Belmont Derby, race 10, is 5:49 pm ET.