Runs Record to Three-For-Three
By Dick Downey
The 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn Stakes, the first Kentucky Derby points race ever run in May, was won by a surging Maxfield off a seven-month layoff. The winner of the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity last October showed little rust from his vacation as he ran by the early leaders to win going away.
Maxfield, ridden by Jose Ortiz, got off to a characteristic start behind other horses, eighth during the early going -- but only 2 3/4 lengths off the pace. Meanwhile, Celtic Striker, Pneumatic and Ny Traffic ding-donged through moderate fractions of 23.98, 48.21 and 1:12.44 during the first six furlongs.
Celtic Striker, an extreme longshot, gave it up leaving the turn while Ny Traffic and Pneumatic went at it down the lane. They were joined by Maxfield at the furlong marker. That one and Ny Traffic bumped as the wire neared before Maxfield ran on to get the best of the other two. Ny Traffic was beaten one length in second place, just 3/4 length ahead of Pneumatic. Attachment Rate was fourth at every call and finished fourth, beaten five lengths.
The winner was timed in 1:43.05. Trainer Brendan Walsh saw Maxfield win his third race in three starts.
Following the top four across the finish line were Necker Island, Celtic Striker, Shake Some Action, Informative, Flap Jack and a disappointing Major Fed. Crypto Cash and Mystic Guide were scratched.
With the win, Maxfield picked up 50 Kentucky Derby points to run his total to 60. Ny Traffic got 20 points and now has 70 overall. Pneumatic picked up his first 10 Derby points. Attachment Rate had 10 points going in and now has 15.
Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Maxfield paid backers with $2 tickets $4.60 to win, $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Ny Traffic was bet down to 7-2 off a 10-1 morning line and returned $4.40 to place and $3.00 to show. Pneumatic, the second betting choice at 5-2, generated $2.80 to show, the same as Maxfield.
Bred in Kentucky by owner Godolphin, Maxfield is a son of Street Sense out of the Bernardini mare Velvety.
Brendan Walsh: “We were really anxious to see this one. It wasn’t an easy spot either. I think the top four horses are all really nice horses. It’s nice to get this one out of the way. It’s good to see him come back and see he’s as good if not better than when he was a two-year-old. Jose gave him a great ride. He had a different kind of style than he did in the past. He broke really good. He won and we can’t ask for more than that.”
Jose Ortiz: "The start is a key part of the race, and like I told Brendan the last time I worked him from the gate at Keeneland, he broke better. That let me know he'd matured a lot." Is a mile and a quarter too much for him? "I don't think a mile and a quarter will be a problem for him."
Ricardo Santana, Jr. (Pneumatic): "He’s a really nice horse. We had a pretty tough trip from the inside but he’s a very nice colt.”