TrainerBrendan P. Walsh
Jockey (from last start)
While his early racing career may have been hampered by setbacks and long swaths of time out of training, it’s clear to even the most casual racing fan that Maxfield is the equine equivalent of a prize fighter — he may get knocked down, but he’s always going to get up again.
Now 4, Maxfield has overcome the kinds of hurdles that would sideline a lesser Thoroughbred. A superstar from his first start at age 2, Maxfield blew away his competition from the get-go, breaking his maiden on debut before running away with the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) by 5 1/2 lengths one start later. Ready to do battle in that year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1), the colt was scratched three days ahead of the race by trainer Brendan Walsh who identified a problem with his right front foot. Despite the setback, he would remain on the radar of every fan following the Road to the Kentucky Derby in 2020 and he looked poised to run beneath the historic Twin Spires at age 3.
Hopes for a run at the American Classics were high when he returned to win the Matt Win Stakes (G3) in his sophomore debut in May 2020, but those were soon set aside when he sustained a non-displaced lateral condylar fracture while training for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. He later underwent surgery, but his future felt less than secure. A fall return was hoped for the horse, but that too was delayed when Maxfield was taken back to surgery to remove a mildly displaced chip from his ankle.
He did return in December 2020 and looked much himself, winning the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds. By the time 2021 rolled around, he was back in the headlines scoring in the Mineshaft Stakes (G3). Following his first career defeat when he finished third in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), Maxfield rebounded with authority, winning the Alysheba Stakes presented by Sentient Jet (G2), and the Stephen Foster Stakes (G2). The latter victory awarded him an automatic berth in the 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
“He's just a special horse," Walsh said of Maxfield after his Mineshaft win. "You point him in the right direction and he does it for you. It's just a privilege to have him in our barn."
Maxfield had his final pre-Classic test Oct. 2, finishing second in the Woodward (G1) at Belmont Park.
Maxfield is a third generation homebred for owner Godolphin. He is a son of Darley stallion Street Sense and his mother is the equally well-bred Godolphin mare Velvety. Street Sense took a similar route as his son when at 2 he ran third in the 2006 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, but he went on to upset that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) the following year. His maternal grandfather, Bernardini, thrilled the racing world and was favored in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic, but was edged out by Invasor (ARG) in the final strides.
|December 19, 2020||Tenacious S.||FAIR GROUNDS||1|
|May 23, 2020||Matt Winn S.||CHURCHILL DOWNS||3||1|
- October 12, 2021
Benefiting from Grade 1 victories in the Belmont Stakes and the Runhappy Travers Stakes, Godolphin’s 3-year-old Essential Quality has finished No. 1 in the final voting of the 2021 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
- October 5, 2021
Godolphin’s Essential Quality moved back into first place by three votes over stablemate Knicks Go in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings, a weekly poll of the top 10 horses in contention for the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
- September 28, 2021
Korea Racing Authority’s 5-year-old Knicks Go hopped over stablemate Essential Quality and back into first place in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings.