Midrange Category - MAXFIELD
On May 23, Maxfield made his return to the track in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs. Placing first in a field of twelve, he reserved his speed in eighth position until Jose Ortiz let him loose after the ¾ mark. This particular race sets Maxfield far above most on the Derby leaderboard for several specific reasons. He had undergone ankle surgery back in November of 2019 and was benched for close to 7 months. Most importantly, when sizing up a potential Derby player, we must analyze the specific prep race which tells you everything you need to know with regards to a true superstar in the making. The win itself and the figures afterwards are secondary. Who he beat and how he beat them is of major importance. In handicapping for future races (particularly for the Kentucky Derby) the gambler must learn to look past the printed stats and figures and dive deeper.
Lead horses dictate the pace and ultimately they will decide the ending stats and figures. Those colts who run far behind them in the early stages of the race have no control on the pace, therefore they will have no control over final beyer figures. This is why previous beyer figures do not hold as much weight for colts who win flying from the back. A jockey will ask him for his speed at a certain spot on the track, he will not ask him to show his speed based on time. If a rear running colt wins his race from far behind, take his final times and beyer figures with a grain of salt. They aren’t his figures, they were the product of those who dictated the pace.
In the Matt Winn Stakes, the rear-running Maxfield bided his time and allowed Celtic Striker, Pneumatic and NY Traffic free reign to control the pace for 90% of the race. These three horses are the main reason why Maxfield will be a major player in the Derby this year. Understanding what a horse beats is much more important than a faux beyer number on a past performance sheet. You must look at the underlying facts to make a sound judgement going forward. Figures and stats have no bearing on the future 10f distance, it is the caliber of the horse and what he accomplished along the way.
Keep in mind that the Matt Winn Stakes was run at only 1-1/16th. Let’s look at the 3 main lead players which will surely reveal why Maxfield skyrockets up to one of the top 5 Derby players this year. Speed dominates at this distance and the three lead guys had all the ingredients to take it wire to wire. On top of that, the day was showery which hands them even more advantage than they had in the first place.
Chefs: DP = 9-6-11-0-0 (26) Index = 3.73 CD = .92
Mares: DP = 8-5-1-9-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.92 Triads = 14-15-17
This guy had everything in his back pocket to wire 1-1/16th especially on a wet track. A 3.73 index with a 3 point spread between the mares speed/stamina balance.
Chefs: DP = 2-4-4-0-0 (10) Index = 4.00 CD = .80
Mares: DP = = 10-1-7-7-4 Speed = 11 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.27 Triads = 18-15-18
Major speed inheritance top and bottom with a split 18 points in the triads. This horse had no excuses at this distance on this bias. Major player for this prep.
Chefs: DP = 2-12-2-0-0 (18) Index = 15.00 CD = 1.00
Mares: 5-4-5-7-5 Speed = 9 Stamina = 12 Index = 0.86 Triads = 14-16-17
This guy right here is the main reason why Maxfield showed just how impressive and top notch he truly is. Look at that chef index. 15.00. NY Traffic is holding 15 times the amount of speed over stamina inherited from his chefs. He is dominant in the 8 to 9f distance. His mares offer him more stamina with a 3 point spread in balance and triads that incline which allows him to sustain that speed for this particular distance. The track was wet and there was no bigger advantage in any Derby prep so far this year than the one that NY Traffic was holding for this race. None. Let’s look at what demolished him…
Chefs: DP = 3-2-7-0-0 (12) Index = 2.43 CD = .67
Mares: 6-7-2-8-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.88 Triads = 15-17-17
The ultimate Average Indexed, perfectly even balanced colt. There is no dominance of speed or stamina coming from either side. The balance is close to perfectly centered on either side. This configuration DOES NOT win on a wet track, coming from the back of the pack, after a 7 month layoff. That .67 CD is all this horse needs in order to run at the same speed from 8f to 10.5f. Since he is a rear runner, he will follow the dictates of the lead speed, but it will not affect his speed no matter when Ortiz decides to unleash it. This horse beat 3 seriously advantaged speed colts in the Matt Winn stakes. That is all you need to know when looking at the stats on the Derby Past Performance Sheets. He beat the speed on the field. He can run 10f. His displayed speed is dictated by the lead horses and it wouldn’t matter if he ran the first quarter in 22 or 24, he is the type to reserve that speed until the top of the stretch no matter what distance is asked.
This race mimics last year’s Arkansas Derby almost to a T. But unlike Country House, Maxfield did beat out the lead speed advantaged guys on a wet track, whereas Country House could not break through over Omaha Beach and Improbable. Maxfield and Country House share basically the same type of chef inheritance, the difference comes with the mares. Maxfield’s speed inheritance DOES NOT get watered down, whereas Country House was packing an enormous amount of mare stamina which affected his speed at a shorter distance. Maxfield will run exactly the same. He will unleash that speed at the top of the stretch no matter what distance he is asked to go. Maxfield is a serious major contender to win the Derby this year.
His Derby Peers:
In this “Average Category” so far this year, Maxfield is sitting with the following top contenders:
Chefs: DP = 3-2-7-0-0 (12) Index = 2.43 CD = .67
Mares = 6-7-2-8-7 Speed = 13 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.88 Triads = 15-17-17
Balanced almost perfectly. Will run exactly the same from 8f to over 10f. Reserves his speed til he reaches the final turn. Has displayed 3 straight wins, undefeated over 1 mile each time IN SPITE of that average 2.43 index. Has never run under 1 mile. Has competed against large fields with enough stamina to run far on the outside to pass them all. Beat advantaged speed demons each and every time. A total and complete 2.43 standout for the Derby this year.
Chefs: DP = 3-5-6-2-0 (16) Index = 2.20 CD = .56
Mares: DP = 5-7-5-9-2 Speed = 12 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.22 Triads = 17-21-16
His triads descend and the balance is negative for stamina. The mare’s index is too high. Inconsistent resume. Weakened in his last against speed.
Chefs: DP = 3-6-15-0-0 (24) Index = 2.20 CD = .50
Mares: DP = = 7-4-5-7-8 Speed = 11 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.82 Triads = 16-16-20
The numbers themselves are not bad and he is holding more stamina than speed. With an average index colt, the past performances hold much more weight than the other two categories. For a 2.20 colt, they must show consistency, a will to win, and the ability to beat his speed competitors. This guy has run in 10 races and all but 2 have been under 8f. The path that this guy has been forced to take since his maiden put him at such a disadvantage and it did not follow his true breeding. His last was finally on a track much more suited to his breeding and he did well so we can’t fault him for his rocky resume. Unfortunately, there are many trainers who do not consult with the pedigree of their charge and follow the exact same path which each one in their care regardless of how the horse is built. He will do better at the further distances but his trainers decided to knock his class out from under his feet. Unlike Maxfield, who was placed much more conducive to his breeding so far, the undesirable distances for Shivaree may be his undoing in the Derby.
Chefs: 6-8-14-1-1 (30) Index = 2.33 CD = .57
Mares: 5-5-5-12-5 Speed = 10 Stamina = 17 Index = 0.74 Triads = 15-22-22
It is a shame that the 12f Belmont Stakes has been dropped to 9f this year because these are the numbers that win that race and he was robbed. These numbers suffer in the Derby at 10f, however consistent past performances and the ability to beat speed along the way will always point out the average indexed standout. His sheet reveals no standout or superior qualities and a rather inconsistent set of performances. These average index guys are always at a disadvantage unless they have shown us something to grab onto. There is nothing here to grab. His second place in the Risen Star was highly commendable but it is no match to the performance of Maxfield in the Matt Winn. Furthermore, a second place Derby prep at Fairgrounds is definitely no match to a first place Derby Prep at Churchill.
Outlook for Maxfield:
As with all Middle Indexed colts, they enter the Derby at a disadvantage every single time. They must have either overloaded profiles or stand-out performances with the ability and the raw talent to shine against speedsters in their early races. The other sign is a horse who debuts and wins over a one mile track. In addition, an undefeated resume is spectacular for a horse bred like this. Maxfield is a main competitor and a serious threat for the Triple Crown this year.