News and STORIES

Maxfield Set To Make Return In Matt Winn

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Thursday May 21, 2020
Maxfield is set to make his highly-anticipated return in the $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/16-mile event on May 23 is for 3-year-olds and is part of the "Stephen Foster Preview Day."

Change of Plans

Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty it brought to horse racing, trainer Brendan Walsh was figuring out how to prepare Godolphin's grade 1-winning homebred son of Street Sense for the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

After the delay of the Kentucky Derby, as well as Keeneland's spring meet cancellation, Maxfield's return was delayed as well. 

"We were going to try to make the Kentucky Derby if it was in May," Walsh said. "It was going to be a little tight, and we probably would have been down to trying to do it with one prep under our belt. But as soon as things shut down, we moved him up to Kentucky and felt our way around for a couple of weeks. 

"We gave him more time because we weren't sure when racing would resume. As things progressed, I had a middle-of-May date in my mind when he would be ready."

Now, the Matt Winn Stakes has presented that opportunity.

"It didn't work to our disadvantage. Every bit of time was going to benefit him," Walsh said about the closing. "Hopefully, he goes out Saturday, gives a good account of himself and runs well, and proves we've got a horse going forward at a time when there's plenty of nice spots opening up for him as we go along from here."

The Matt Winn will provide the starters, including Ny Traffic and Major Fed, with the opportunity to earn points toward the Kentucky Derby. The points will be awarded on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers.

The Belmont Stakes

There have been even more developments over the past few days. On May 19, it was announced that the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) will run on June 20 at Belmont Park. 

"We'll see how Saturday goes. I'm not even thinking about that yet," Walsh said about the Belmont.

Walsh is happy with how Maxfield has been training and getting past the November ankle injury, which caused him to miss the TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). Maxfield was set to be one of the top runners in the Juvenile, which followed a 2-for-2 record that included the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1). That race awarded him 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. 

"We're really happy. We've had plenty of time to prepare him for this. This race came up at the right time, and he's about as ready as we can get him coming off the bench. He's training good, and we're looking forward to seeing what he does Saturday," Walsh said. "He's done really well physically. 

"We always looked forward to seeing him at 3 because we thought 3 and 4 would be his best years. He's filled out into his frame over the winter, and he's turned into a really, really good-looking horse, and I hope he does as well on the racetrack as he's done physically."

Maxfield will break from post 10 with jockey Jose Ortiz. 

Others in the Field

Ny Traffic is also set to run in the Matt Winn. The fleet son of Cross Traffic finished third in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2).

Ny Traffic has 50 Kentucky Derby points and is sitting in the 12th spot on the list. 

The field for the Matt Winn also includes Major Fed, Attachment Rate, Pneumatic, Uncle Mo, and Mystic Guide.