Kentucky Derby Radar: Maxfield went ‘majorly overlooked’

September 20, 2019 11:18am
Kentucky Derby Radar: Maxfield went ‘majorly overlooked’
Photo: Coady Photography

In last Saturday’s Churchill Downs finale — after Dennis’ Moment had already wowed in the Iroquois Stakes, revving up some 2020 Kentucky Derby dreams — Maxfield gave his connections reason to believe they could have a classic contender, too.

Brendan Walsh, who trains the Godolphin homebred son of Street Sense, said Maxfield looks like a candidate for Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) after rallying to win his maiden special weight debut by 3/4 of a length.

“He was majorly overlooked,” Walsh said, with Maxfield away at 10-1 in the field of 11.

“…This spot came up ideal — a one-turn mile was perfect. I thought he was going to need a run or two, but he proved me wrong. That’s nice. The good ones tend to do it.”

While Maxfield could have been ready to race earlier, perhaps during Ellis Park’s summer meet, Walsh said the colt is “such a big horse physically” that he waited for a bit of a longer spot. Maxfield needed most of those eight furlongs to make up for a slow beginning under jockey Jose Ortiz.

Asked through the turn, Maxfield ranged up widest of all and delivered a winning kick down the stretch, edging away late to a final time of 1:37.13 -- on a track thought to show a bias toward rail runners no less.

“We’re excited about him, and we’re looking forward to the future with him,” Walsh said, “because all his best days are in front.”

Before the Kentucky Jockey Club, Maxfield is expected to make another start, with Keeneland offering allowance conditions to 2-year-olds.

Last year, Walsh sent Plus Que Parfait out for a maiden-breaking win at Keeneland, then saddled that colt for a close-up second in the Kentucky Jockey Club. In the spring, Plus Que Parfait won the UAE Derby (G2) to become Walsh’s first Kentucky Derby starter.

Earlier on Saturday’s card, the familiar connections of trainer Stanley Hough and Sagamore Farm sent out another debut-winning colt who also figures to try a Keeneland allowance race before jumping into stakes.

South Bend is, along with a pair of top Sagamore sprinters, by Algorithms.

“He doesn’t train like Recruiting Ready and He Hate Me,” said Sagamore’s president, Hunter Rankin. “He trains kind of like a distance horse. We’ve liked him all along. He’s really impressed us in the mornings.”

With jockey Julien Leparoux up, South Bend scored a nose victory in the fourth race, that one measuring 3/4 of a mile, in 1:10.72.


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About the Derby Radar

Back for the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail, Horse Racing Nation's Derby Radar seeks to identify promising maiden, allowance and even stakes winners who could target points-paying preps down the line. We'll cover the buzz horses, of course, then using a systematic approach based on past years' Derby contenders identify other talented colts moving up the ladder.

Did we miss one? Email editor Jonathan Lintner ( if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.

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