Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Maxfield's ready for the work tab

Kentucky Derby 2020 Radar: Maxfield's ready for the work tab
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Maxfield, bet down to 13-1 in last weekend’s 2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool, will offer his backers some hope in the coming days when the Grade 1 winner returns to the work tab for the first time as a 3-year-old.

Jimmy Bell, president of owner and breeder Godolphin’s U.S. operations, said trainer Brendan Walsh is preparing the Street Sense colt for an initial 3/8-mile breeze at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida.

“He’s got some foundation under him, and I think Brendan’s ready to begin his work process very, very shortly,” Bell said.

Having scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November with what was initially thought to be a bruised foot, Maxfield underwent surgery later in the month to remove a bone chip from his ankle. He returned to jogging in January leading up to this point.

Maxfield raced twice as a 2-year-old, breaking his maiden on debut Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs, where the big-bodied horse got up by 3/4 of a length going a mile. Wheeled back in the Oct. 5 Breeders’ Futurity (G1), he circled some stout competition to win by 5 1/2 lengths at Keeneland and announce himself as one to watch for the Derby.

Breeders’ Futurity runner-up Gouverneur Morris came back Friday to win an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs and will likely target a major Derby prep from there. Enforceable, the next-out Lecomte (G3) winner at Fair Grounds, was third. Ajaaweed has placed in multiple graded stakes since finishing fourth that day.

Bell believes Maxfield defeated those foes “with something left in the tank.”

“He’s a horse we’re obviously very excited about,” Bell added. “This time now is nothing but getting the proper foundation back in him to where he can showcase his best talent — whenever and wherever that might be.”

Plans are more firm for another of Godolphin’s emerging Derby hopefuls. Spa City, a Kiaran McLaughin-trained son of Street Sense, broke his maiden going nine furlongs on Feb. 8 at Gulfstream Park.

Spa City could appear next in the March 7 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

“That was a very, very big effort for him,” Bell said, after Spa City pressed the pace, went by into the far turn and out-dueled a pesky rival in the stretch to win by a length. It was another 15 3/4 lengths to third.

Spa City had debuted going six furlongs, then ran a distance second to a stakes prospect, Caracaro, when upped to a one-turn mile.

“All we were waiting for was that two-turn opportunity,” Bell said. “A mile and an eighth is a big test for these 3-year-olds, and he hit the wire with his ears pricked.”

Spa City is out of the graded stakes winner Sara Louise, who during her career defeated future superstar Rachel Alexandra in Churchill's Pocahontas Stakes at age 2. Each of Sara Louise's five foals to race have won.

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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 (jlintner@horseracingnation.com) if you know of a horse that should be on the radar.


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