Godolphin is having a wonderful fall. Across the pond, their Irish-based stallion Shamardal (by Giant's Causeway) is having a phenomenal year with a trio of 2-year-old sons – Earthlight, Pinatubo, and Victor Ludorum – who have won Group 1 races, and here in the States at Darley's Jonabell stallion complex, hometown hero Street Sense (Street Cry) has a top-tier 4-year-old in McKinzie and an unbeaten 2-year-old in Maxfield, winner of the G1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 5.
Champion 2-year-old colt of 2006 after a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Street Sense won the Kentucky Derby the following season, as well as the Travers. Losses to Curlin in the 2007 Preakness and then in the Breeders' Cup Classic tipped the championship to the big chestnut, and the dark bay son of Street Cry went to stud at Jonabell in 2008, while Curlin raced on another season and earned a second Horse of the Year title.
From his first-crop foals of 2009, Street Sense got a slow start, and his only G1 winner from his first Kentucky crop was Aubby K, winner of the Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs as a 4-year-old in 2013. That season, her sire was serving mares in Japan as part of Darley's global stallion operation, but the performances of the sire's stock bought him a quick trip back to the Bluegrass.
Street Sense's Kentucky crops from 2010 through 2013 yielded additional fillies in each crop who won at the highest level, from a total of 41 stakes winners from his first five crops.
Yet not until McKinzie won the Los Alamitos Futurity in 2017 did Street Sense get a G1-winning colt in this country, although he had a pair from his seasons in Australia: Hallowed Crown and Sense of Occasion. McKinzie has since added the G1 Pennsylvania Derby, Malibu, and Whitney to his scorecard.
Now Street Sense has a second.
Bred in Kentucky by Godolphin, Maxfield is unbeaten in two starts and has the leggy look of a really good high school athlete. To be somewhat immature yet capable of very high-quality performance at 2 is typical of the better members of this line, and in Maxfield's case, this colt's sizable promise is allied with some quality.
The dark bay colt's move from next-to-last to first around the turn at Keeneland was one of the most impressive in a G1 event all season, and yet there would appear to be the potential for improvement in him, a thought that bears pondering, or dreaming about, given one's inclination.
Maxfield is out of the Bernardini mare Velvety, who won her debut as a 3-year-old in England and then was unplaced in her only two subsequent starts. The mare's first foal is a Dubawi gelding who apparently couldn't outrun me and is unplaced in four outings in England. Following a year without a foal, Velvety's second offspring is Maxfield.
The mare has a yearling colt by Medaglia d'Oro and a weanling filly by the same sire.
Velvety is the 12th of 15 foals produced by the graded stakes winner Caress (Storm Cat), winner of the G3 Athenia, Beaugay, and Poker Stakes. Bred and raced by Harbor View Farm, Caress produced Sky Mesa for the operation before both were sold at auction.
At the 2001 Keeneland September yearling sale, Sky Mesa sold for $750,000 to John Oxley, and the preceding year, at the 2000 Keeneland November sale, Caress sold to Darley for $3.1 million in foal to Coronado's Quest. After producing that colt, the mare went on a filly binge, producing six in a row, including Golden Velvet (Seeking the Gold), winner of the G3 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream and the G3 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne, as well as second in the G1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont.
The appeal of Caress lay not only in her racing class, her producing promise, and her very popular covering sire (the average price for a mare in foal to Coronado's Quest in 2000 was $831,111). She also had a first-rate family. Out of the fine producer La Affirmed (Affirmed), Caress was one of four stakes winners out of her dam, including G3 winner Bernstein, who became a notably successful sire of champion Tepin, Breeders' Cup Mile winner Karakontie, and others.
La Affirmed's full sister Lovelier won the G3 Miss Grillo at 2, and their half-sister was the 1984 Eclipse Award winner for top 2-year-old filly at that age, Outstandingly, by Affirmed's sire Exclusive Native (Raise a Native). Harbor View raced Raise a Native, then bred and raced nearly everything in this family until selling Sky Mesa and Caress.
And in character, quality, and ability, this family is Harbor View to the Max(-field).
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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