• The week’s highest Beyer speed figure in North America
Churchill Downs (May 30): Alysheba Stakes G2 $400,000, 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+
Trainer: Brendan Walsh
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Owner: Godolphin Racing LLC
Pedigree: 4 bc Street Sense – Velvety (Bernardini)
Godolphin may have suffered Kentucky Derby disappointment with Essential Quality but the Dubai team could at least console themselves that they have a star among their older horses in the shape of Maxfield.
A beaten favourite in the Santa Anita Handicap in March, the four-year-old son of Street Sense posted a convincing victory in the G2 Alysheba on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, sweeping to the lead at the head of the stretch and drawing away to take his career record to six out of seven with a BSF of 105.
As good as this was, what must be a relief to trainer Brendan Walsh is how well the horse appears to be taking his racing after injury blighted his early career.
Although he was a G1 winner at two in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Maxfield missed the Breeders’ Cup through injury – and he was a leading contender for last year’s delayed Kentucky Derby when another setback ruled him out.
However, after ankle surgery he has now had four starts since returning to action in December last year and still looks every inch the G1 performer.
For the record, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit clocked a 102 BSF, whereas Kentucky Oaks heroine Malathaat got a 95.
Maxfield, though, was by no means out on his own last week as two others also hit 105 – and quite a disparate pair at that.
Chad Brown-trained five-year-old Tribhuvan – now returned off a ten-month layoff to go wire-to-wire in the G2 Fort Marcy over 1m1f on the Belmont inner turf on Saturday’s card.
A more unlikely suspect for this slot, though, is the claimer Azrael, who posted a 105 for his 14-length victory 1-5 in a four-runner race over 6f on the all-weather at Arlington.
Clear lead, saved ground, drew off. But even so, this was a minor $17,000 claimer, and the five-year-old had won only one of his previous eight starts. Freakish figure.
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