Nothing ‘set in stone’ for returning Maxfield

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Churchill Downs
Sep 5, 2020; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; John Velazquez guides Authentic towards the finish line to win the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Walsh remains somewhat cautious as the unbeaten Maxfield nears a return to the racetrack.

The Street Sense colt was sidelined over the summer months and has been slowly working back to full fitness.

Already a Grade 1 winner in his own right, Maxfield now has options either side of the New Year in which he may bid to relaunch his stalled career.

The three-year-old breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 at the Fair Grounds on Tuesday and Walsh figures that might be the place to make his comeback.

The $75,000 Tenacious Stakes on December 19th is being considered, while Walsh also has eyes on the Grade 3, $125,000 Louisiana Stakes at the New Orleans oval come January 16th should more time be needed to prepare Maxfield.

Walsh cautioned that nothing is ‘set in stone’ for Maxfield as he suggested: “This horse has taught us not to make too many plans.”

The Godolphin homebred has a perfect three-from-three record at this point in his career.

He was a winner last September at Churchill Downs on his debut and then backed that up with an impressive Grade 1 success in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity.

That appeared to tee him up for a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but a chip in his ankle necessitated minor surgery and prevented him lining up.

He wasn’t spotted again until May where he duly won Churchill’s Matt Winn Stakes (G3) to thrust himself into the picture for Triple Crown honors, during what was a rejigged 2020 program.

Another minor setback put paid to those aspirations however and it would be late October before Walsh could put Maxfield back into full work at Keeneland.

He’s now been steadily increasing the weight load and the trainer is confident he retains a very promising colt on his books. Given what has transpired in 2020, Walsh says he won’t rush in any decision on his comeback run.

Despite the setbacks they have encountered along the journey, the handler sees a horse that is physically maturing all the while.

“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.

“That’s nice because the more time he was going to get, hopefully the better he will get. Hopefully we’ll get a clear run with him this time and get to see the best of him, or near the best of him, anyway.”