With an eye-catching move going into the far turn under Jose Ortiz, Maxfield drew off to an impressive 5 1/2-length victory on Saturday in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, giving trainer Brendan Walsh his first career Grade 1 triumph. The Godolphin homebred son of Street Sense covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.21 and paid $14.80 in a mild upset.
Gouverneur Morris finished second, a half-length in front of Enforceable in third, with Ajaaweed five lengths back in fourth and By Your Side fifth in the field of 10 2-year-old colts.
With the victory in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series “Win and You're In” race for the Juvenile division, Maxfield earns an all-fees-paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Nov. 2.
“Obviously, we'll see how he comes out of this (before a decision on the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1),” said Walsh, “but if you don't bring him, who do you bring?”
Walsh added: “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. “
Maxfield was in the back of the pack early as American Butterfly shot straight to the lead, setting fractions of :24.01, :47.78 and 1:12.46. Maxfield saved ground down the backstretch winding his way through the field, but then quickly accelerated when swung out to the outside approaching the far turn, and was in front before reaching the three-sixteenths pole.
Maxfield was well clear when stopping the timer in 1:37.86 for a mile en route to his final time of 1:44.21.
Maxfield, produced from the Bernardini mare Velvety, is now a perfect 2-for-2, having broken his maiden on Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs, coming from off the pace to win by three-quarters of a length going a mile.
“He's a very special horse,” said Walsh. “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, 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.
“He's a very nice horse and he's very smart,” Ortiz said of Maxfield. “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.”
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