by Keeneland Press Release
October 6, 2019
Maxfield, last in the field of 10 in the early going, exploded past favored Gouverneur Morris at the top of the stretch and cruised to a 5½-length victory in the 106th running of the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds.
Maxfield not only gave trainer Brendan Walsh his first Keeneland stakes victory but also the first Grade 1 victory of his career. For jockey Jose Ortiz, it was his first win in the race and second stakes victory of Fall Stars Weekend.
With the victory, Maxfield earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
American Butterfly led the field through fractions of :24.01 and :47.78 as Maxfield bided his time near the back of the pack. On the far turn, Gouverneur Morris blew past American Butterfly but Maxfield was behind him winding up with his run.
At the head of the lane, Maxfield surged past and quickly erased any doubt about the outcome.
The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Maxfield’s earnings to $354,412 with a record of 2-2-0-0.
Maxfield is a Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense out of the Bernardini mare Velvety.
Maxfield returned $14.80, $5.60 and $3.80. Gouverneur Morris, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $3.40 and $2.80 with Enforceable finishing a half-length back in third under Florent Geroux and paying $6.20 to show.
It was another five lengths back to Ajaaweed with By Your Side, American Butterfly, January Won, King Theo, Life On the Road and Tap It to Win following in order.
BREEDERS' FUTURITY QUOTES
Brendan Walsh (winning trainer of Maxfield)
“When he started rolling I was looking to see if he was going to get through – is there anything going to stop us? – because I knew he was going to run right to the wire.
“He’s a very special horse. I’ve been around a lot of good horses, and good horses breathe different air. I think this horse is right there. I thought he might take a run or two to break his maiden, but we knew he was a super-talented horse. He overcame a lot the first day we ran him (a maiden special win Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs), and he came out of that race doing so good. To come back in three weeks for a horse that’s only run once is a big ask, but he answers every question.
“Obviously, we’ll see how he comes out of this (before a decision on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1), but if you don’t bring him, who do you bring?
“I always knew (winning my first Grade 1 race) would be special but to win it here for these people (Godolphin) it’s extra special. Fantastic. Indescribable. “
Jose Ortiz (winning rider)
“He’s a very nice horse and he’s very smart. He broke slow first time, took dirt and came running at Churchill. Today, he did the same thing. Broke a bit slow, relaxed and when I asked him to go, he was there for me the whole time.”
Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up and beaten favorite Gouverneur Morris)
“It was a good trip. Unfortunately, we were kind of wide in the first turn, but that’s hard to deal with breaking from the outside post. He broke well enough to get into a good spot. We were just second best today. He earned it and fought for second place, but the winner was the best horse in the race.”
Florent Geroux (rider of third-place finisher Enforceable)
“I was going to save some ground on the first turn on the backside and I decided to tip him out by the three-eighths pole, but the winner (Maxfield) came by me pretty fast. My horse ran a great race to hang on for third. I was close for second place. He ran good. It was a good race for him.”