December 9, 2022

Maxfield gets back to winning in Alysheba

Maxfield, with Jose Ortiz up, wins the Alysheba Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photography by Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

Maxfield was back on his best form in Friday’s $400,000 Alysheba S. (G2) at Churchill Downs, making a powerful three-wide rally into contention around the far turn and drawing off late to win as the odds-on choice under Jose Ortiz.

The Godolphin homebred, who suffered his first career loss in the March 6 Santa Anita H. (G1), rated comfortably in third down the backside as Visitant set the pace, with Roadster in close attendance in second. But Maxfield always looked to be moving well, and responded readily when asked to go by Ortiz.

“As a younger horse he tended to miss the break a little bit, but since he’s gotten stronger he seems to find himself a little more prominent,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “He’s got a serious cruising speed. He’s just a fantastic horse.”

Maxfield crossed the wire 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Visitant, finishing up 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:41.39. He paid $3. Finishing more than four lengths behind Visitant was Chess Chief, with Roadster fourth and Sonneman and Attachment Rate completing the order of finish.

Maxfield, with Jose Ortiz up, wins the Alysheba Stakes (Photography by Jamie Newell/TwinSpires)

This was the fifth stakes win for Maxfield, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense. He captured the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at two, and the Matt Winn (G3) and Tenacious S. at three last season, but untimely injuries forced him to miss significant assignments in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1).

After taking the Feb. 13 Mineshaft (G3) at Fair Grounds by more than three lengths, Maxfield made only his second foray into Grade 1 company in the March 6 Big ‘Cap, but proved one-paced during the stretch and finished third, beaten two lengths. He’s now bankrolled $908,782.

Maxfield was produced by Velvety, a Bernardini half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sky Mesa and Grade 3-winning producer Golden Velvet. All were produced by the multiple Grade 3 winner Caress.