Could we be looking at the 2021 Breeder's Cup Classic favorite?
Godolphin Racing's MAXFIELD looked spectacular winning Saturday's $600K Win and You're In Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. He's now won 7 out of 8 races and remains undefeated at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz and trained by Brendan Walsh, the dark bay colt left the gate beautifully and positioned himself in midpack, while a pair of longshots—EMPTY TOMB (44-1) and SPRAWL (12-1)—set early fractions of 23.33 and 46.88 for opening quarters.
"I just sort of had to stay out of his way," said Jose Ortiz. "He has a big stride and does it so nicely. It's great to be back here at Churchill with this horse. He seems to be getting better and loves it here."
MAXFIELD settled into a rhythmic stride through the backside, racing in the clear along the three-path, in a strung out field by 12 to 14 lengths front to back.
With three furlongs to go, Jose Ortiz pushes the button and MAXFIELD catapults himself forward, circling the field and reaching the front as they hit the stretch. When roused more for run, MAXFIELD responds instantly, opening up by four lengths before gliding past the wire comfortably for the win.
"It was a really good performance," trainer Brendan Walsh said.
"It looks like he continues to improve all the time. Thankfully now he's been good and healthy. Our goal has been to get a good string of races into him and that's starting to happen. I'm glad to get over another obstacle today. We'll hope he comes out of today's race in good order and we'll move on to the next one."
WARRIOR'S CHARGE, after being squeezed at the break, rallied gallantly for the second spot. Then it was three lengths back to SPRAWL in third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth on dirt was 1:48:53.
MAXFIELD paid $2.80 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by STREET SENSE out of VELVETY by BERNARDINI. He notches his fifth graded stakes victory, pushes his earnings past the $1 million mark, and keeps his undefeated record at Churchill Downs intact.
"We had a lot of confidence today," said Godolphin's Rep. Jimmy Bell. "He settled down up the backside and down the lane he finished in a strong hand ride. It's his fourth start of the year, so it's good to see the succession of races coming together. We can look at the Whitney as a primary target."
MAXFIELD is the second horse to earn an automatic starting spot in this year's Breeder's Cup Classic at Del Mar. CAFE PHAROAH, the Noriyuki Hori trainee who won the February Stakes at Tokyo Race course earlier this year, was the first.
Source: Equibase, Thoroughreddailynews