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LOUISVILLE, KY – Godolphin homebred Maxfield proved to be much the best with an easy-as-he-pleased dominating victory in Saturday’s $600,000 Stephen Foster Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
The Stephen Foster is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Maxfield receiving an automatic berth in the Classic at Del Mar this November.
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Maxfield broke from post 8 under Jose Ortiz as the heavy 2/5 favorite and sat off the pace heading into the clubhouse turn while remaining wide and clear of kickback.
Empty Tomb set the early pace, posting quick opening fractions of :23.33 and :46.88 before the pressing Sprawl took over near the 3/8 pole.
After advancing steadily around rivals while cornering, Maxfield emerged onto the front stretch well in command and drew off to a handy 3 1/4-length score. The Brendan Walsh trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:48.53.
“I just sort of had to stay out of his way,” Ortiz said. “He has a big stride and does it so nicely. It’s great to be back here at Churchill with this horse. He seems to be getting better and loves it here.”
Warrior’s Charge took second by 2 lengths over Sprawl, while South Bend made a late push for fourth.
Chess Chief, Empty Tomb, Necker Island, Visitant, and Silver Dust completed the order of finish.
Maxfield’s win was his second straight following the local Alysheba Stakes (G2) and improved the 4-year-old Street Sense colt’s record to 8-7-0-1 with $1,265,902 earned.
“It was a really good performance,” Walsh said. “It looks like he continues to improve all the time. Thankfully, now he’s been good and healthy. Our goal has been to get a good string of races into him and that’s starting to happen. I’m glad to get over another obstacle today. We’ll hope he comes out of today’s race in good order and we’ll move on to the next one.”
Maxfield returned $2.80 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Warrior’s Charge brought back $5 to place and $3.60 to show. Sprawl paid $4.20 to show.
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