December 5, 2020

Maxfield returns in 12-horse Matt Winn

Maxfield wins the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland 2019
Maxfield was an impressive winner of the Breeders' Futurity (Coady Photography)

Unraced since romping in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last October, Maxfield will open his 3-year-old campaign in Saturday’s $100,000 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/16-mile race usually takes place after the Triple Crown, but it’s become a qualifier for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby in this unorthodox racing season.

As a new addition to the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Matt Winn will award points on a 50-20-10-5 scale toward a berth in the second leg of the 2020 Triple Crown.

Maxfield, who earned 10 points for the Breeders’ Futurity, will try to pad his total as the probable favorite. The Brendan Walsh-trained colt has shown an affinity for Churchill Downs, overcoming a slow start to win his debut going away, and Jose Ortiz retains the mount on the late-running son of Street Sense.

Major Fed will receive support following a troubled effort in the Louisiana Derby (G2), missing the start and traveling wide before launching an eye-catching rally through the stretch for fourth. Runner-up in the second division of the Risen Star (G2) two back, Major Fed will break from the far outside post and Joel Rosario has the call for Greg Foley.

Ny Traffic, who held second throughout the Louisiana Derby at 26-1 odds, is also back for the Matt Winn along with sixth-placer Shake Some Action. Ny Traffic ships in from Florida for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and the front-running gray colt adds the services of Paco Lopez. Javier Castellano will be up on Shake Some Action, who won two straight for Brad Cox before an unplaced effort in his stakes bow last time.

Pneumatic, who opened his racing career with a pair of wins at Oaklawn Park, will make his stakes debut for Steve Asmussen. The son of Uncle Mo rallied from midpack to post a 2 1/2-length triumph in an entry-level allowance event six weeks ago, and Ricardo Santana Jr. will guide. Attachment Rate has placed in both stakes attempts. Third in the Gotham (G3) two back, the Dale Romans trainee picks up John Velazquez following a second in the April 25 Unbridled S. at Gulfstream.

Other runners include Mystic Guide, unraced since a five-length maiden score on the Louisiana Derby undercard; juvenile stakes winner Flap Jack, who will try to turn things around following an unplaced effort in the Oaklawn S. on a sloppy track; and Unbridled fourth-placer Necker Island, who broke his maiden and recorded an entry-level allowance win at Churchill last fall.