Maxfield (Jose Ortiz 3-1) from the Godolphin stable, is about to confront 11 rivals, including Risen Star, Major Fed, Cash is King, and Ny Traffic, in Saturday's $150,000 Matt Winn presented by Woodford Reserve – one of five stakes races on an 11-race program at Churchill Downs.
The Matt Winn, just over a mile for 3-year-olds, will prize top 4 finishers selected points on the extended Kentucky Derby series. Four additional features are the $100,000 Shawnee, $100,000 Tepin, $100,000 Blame, and, $100,000 War Chant.
The card holds a trio of Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers, along with the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot. The late Pick 5 and Pick 4 will feature an all-stakes sequence.
Unbeaten Maxfield, a colt by Street Sense, has been on the sidelines since his 5 ½-length score in the $500,000 Breeders' Futurity, early October. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield was favoured for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile until forced to scratch because of a minor blip in his right fore leg.
“The biggest difference we have all noticed with him, has been his physicality,” Brendan said. “We never really questioned what he was like mentally, although back to training he's really filled out physically.”
Maxfield also had issues with the starting gates, but has now calmed down.
Other contenders entered in the Matt Winn are Pneumatic, Attachment Rate, Informative, Celtic Striker, Flap Jack, Shake Some Action, and, Mystic Guide.
Having been elated with re-opening of French racing in May, it has now been has dealt a cruel blow with news that the government is withdrawing its approval to race in various parts of the country still heavily affected by the crisis. Paris and eastern areas are to be closed.
These new measures will allow competition to continue in Normandy, the south and west, but Longchamp, Saint-Cloud and Auteuil, are clamped until a further review of the situation is undertaken.
While Wednesday's meeting at La Teste de Buch is not affected. Longchamp transfers to Deauville. Friday Fontainebleau moves to Vichy, and Compiegne's program to Dieppe.
France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild reacted defiantly, tweeting that the decision was "inexplicable and irrational".
Addressing the wider racing industry he continued: "I will not give in. I am proud of your exemplary behaviour behind closed doors since May 11 and the colossal work undertaken by our teams for more than two months."