The unbeaten but injury-hampered Maxfield is ‘all set, ready to go’ ahead of his intended comeback at Fair Ground this weekend, says trainer Brendan Walsh.
The Godolphin homebred is entered in the $75,000 Tenacious Stakes for three-year-olds and older over a mile and half a furlong on Saturday.
Maxfield has won all three starts to date, though he has endured a summer curtailed by injury, with Walsh recently admitting: “This horse has taught us not to make too many plans”.
After a winning start at Churchill Downs last September, Maxfield impressively took Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity a month later.
That ensured he was being touted for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last season but an ankle chip that required minor surgery put paid to that plan.
After a patient spring, he rewarded connections again when he won Churchill’s Matt Winn Stakes (G3) in May off a seven-month layoff, putting his name in the mix for the re-scheduled 2020 Triple Crown races.
Another minor setback laid him up over the summer as the likes of Tiz The Law, Authentic and Swiss Skydiver thrived in those marquee contests, winning the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes respectively.
Maxfield meanwhile got back to serious track work at Keeneland in late October and has been building towards a return to racing since.
By the start of this month, his trainer was feeling ready to go.
“He’s come back good again,” Walsh added. “He’s a very straightforward horse to train. He was always a horse that needed to mature physically, so he’s matured and gotten stronger. He’s almost there now physically.”
This weekend’s Tenacious Stakes was identified as the possible starting point, while the Grade 3, $125,000 Louisiana Stakes next month at the same venue over the same trip was also considered if more time was demanded.
Now Walsh seems eager to get going this Saturday.
“He’s all set, ready to go,” said the trainer.
“He did his final piece of work [on Sunday], went great. So we think it’s time to start him back.”
Maxfield is one of seven entries for Saturday’s Tenacious Stakes. Steve Asmussen’s Sonneman, who has finished second in three of his last four starts, including the Pat Day Mile (G2), is amongst the dangers to Maxfield alongside the Al Stall Jr runner Locally Owned.
Cool Bobby, Captivating Moon, Mocito Rojo and Dinar make up the potential field for the Fair Ground event.