After securing his fourth career win in as many starts with a dominating performance in the Tenacious Stakes Dec. 19 at the New Orleans track, the son of Street Sense is set for his second start of the meet in the $200,000 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) Feb. 13. Like the Tenacious, the Mineshaft is contested at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Godolphin’s Maxfield will be starting at 1 1/16 miles for a fourth straight race. At 2, he won the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. In 2020 he also won the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs—his 3-year-old debut.
Since the Tenacious, Maxfield has worked three times at Fair Grounds, including a five-furlong move in 1:00 2/5 Jan. 31. Walsh said Maxfield was slowed just a bit after the Tenacious by a little illness that went through the barn but quickly bounced back and has been thriving on the Fair Grounds surface.
Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield showed more speed than usual in the Tenacious, pressing leader Cool Bobby for the early lead before taking command in the stretch to post a 2 1/2-length victory. Before that effort, the closest Maxfield had been at first call in a race was eighth place. Walsh likes that Maxfield is capable of different early running styles based on race scenarios.
“He’s capable of that and I think even in the Matt Winn, he could have been closer if not for a little traffic early,” Walsh said. “I think as he’s strengthened up, he’s been able to get out of the gate a little better.”
Walsh said the colt out out of the Bernardini mare Velvety has grown into his frame as an older horse.
“He was always going to be a big strong horse; he’s always been a big-framed horse. But he’s grown into that frame and is close to the finished article,” Walsh said, noting that Godolphin has been tremendously patient to allow that development.
Video: Tenacious S. (BT)
Jockey Florent Geroux was aboard for the first time in the Tenacious and is scheduled to ride Saturday.
Awaiting Maxfield in the Mineshaft will be last year’s Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Wells Bayou. While Maxfield showed the ability to race close to the lead—if needed—in his previous outing, he typically rallies. Wells Bayou, on the other hand, routinely races on the lead—where he’s been at the first call in six of his previous seven starts, including last year’s front-end score in the Louisiana Derby.
Like Maxfield, Wells Bayou has a start at the Fair Grounds meeting. The son of Lookin At Lucky made his 4-year-old debut Jan. 16 in the Louisiana Stakes (G3), where he finished third to Title Ready. Clint and Lance Gasaway, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables’ Wells Bayou is conditioned by Brad Cox, who last month secured the Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer.
In the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana, Blackberry Wine seized the early lead before yielding to Title Ready in the stretch. Trained by Joe Sharp, the Calumet Farm homebred held second and is scheduled to give the trip another try Saturday, where he’s drawn outside.
Wells Bayou and Blackberry Wine could alternatively compete in different races. Wells Bayou is similarly in the $600,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Saturday at Oaklawn Park, while Blackberry Wine is cross-entered in Saturday’s 11th race in New Orleans, the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3T). Having only won on dirt, he would seem unlikely to run in the Fair Grounds Stakes unless inclement weather moves it to the main track.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, February 13, 2021, Race 10
- Grade III
- 1 1/16m
- 4 yo’s & up
- 4:44 PM (local)