March 2, 2024

Maxfield preserves unbeaten record in Mineshaft

Maxfield wins the Mineshaft Stakes (Hodges Photography)

Maxfield‘s four-year-old debut on Saturday in the $200,000 Mineshaft S. (G3) at Fair Grounds ended much like the rest of his start-and-stop career. With a victory.

Favored at 3-5 to win his fifth in a row, Maxfield did so, and with aplomb, by 3 1/4 lengths under Florent Geroux. He stopped the timer over a fast track in 1:43.67.

Reverting to closing tactics in the Mineshaft after a stalk-and-pounce victory in the Tenacious S. earlier in the meet, Maxfield was last entering the clubhouse turn, and then was tipped out wide by Florent Geroux for clear sailing entering the backside and gradually improved position as Dinar built up a double-digit lead.

Approaching the quarter pole, Dinar began to backtrack while Maxfield made a three wide bid outside Blackberry Wine. Maxfield appeared to be going better of the two turning for home, and the Godolphin homebred soon asserted himself in a strong effort.

Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield returned $3.20. Sonneman rallied for second by a half-length over Chess Chief, with Blackberry Wine, Enforceable, and Dinar completing the order of finish.

Maxfield has bankrolled $615,262, and now the hope of connections and a growing legion of followers is that the son of Street Sense can put together a full campaign. Infirmities limited the colt to two starts as a juvenile and two starts last season, with his prior graded scores coming in the 2019 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and 2020 Matt Winn (G3).

“It’s great to get some nice successive runs into him and he’s finally turning into the horse we always believed he was,” Walsh said. “He made a nice progression from that last race.”

Bred in Kentucky, Maxfield was produced by Velvety, a Bernardini half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sky Mesa and multiple Grade 3 heroine Golden Velvet.

Fair Grounds S. (G3)

Captivating Moon, who hadn’t raced on the turf in more than a year and whose lone previous stakes win was on the dirt, registered a huge upset in the $150,000 Fair Grounds S. (G3) under Marcelino Pedroza.

Sent off as the 43-1 longest shot in the field of 10, Captivating Moon was the trailer down the backside, but proved to handle the yielding conditions best of all in the stretch with a wide, sustained rally. The winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths and the final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.27.

A homebred racing for Bob Lothenbach and trained by Chris Block, Captivating Moon paid $89. Logical Myth finished second by a head over Peace Achieved, who nosed out Set Piece for third. Factor This, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth and was followed by Spectacular Gem, Artie’s Rumor, Danceteria, Midnight Tea Time, and Dontblamerocket.

Previously the winner of the 2019 Buddy Diliberto Memorial at Fair Grounds, Captivating Moon has 12 other stakes placings to his credit on both dirt and turf. Among these were in the New Orleans Classic (G2), American Turf (G2), Transylvania (G3), American Derby (G3), and Arlington H. (G3). His record now stands at 29-5-8-5, $608,118.

Bred in Kentucky, the six-year-old entire is by Malibu Moon and out of the Valid Appeal mare Appealing Storm. The latter has also produced Grade 1 winner Vacare and the Grade/Group 3 winners Abtaal and Single Solution.

Albert M. Stall Memorial

Dalika earned her second stakes win of the Fair Grounds meet while giving trainer Al Stall Jr. a poignant success in the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial for fillies and mares, which honors the the trainer’s late father.

A wire-to-wire winner of the Blushing K. D. S. in December but fifth as the favorite in last month’s Marie G. Krantz Memorial, Dalika rebounded after here by reeling in long-time leader His Glory from second approaching the sixteenth pole. Under Miguel Mena, the 5-year-old drew off late to win by a length from Temple City Terror, with Pass the Plate a half-length farther behind in third. Secret Message, the slight 9-5 favorite, finished fifth.

Owned by Bal Mar Equine, Dalika $5.80 as the second choice in a field of eight. She covered 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:45.16.

Bred in Germany by Gestut Ammerland, Dalika is by Pastorius and out of Drawn To Run, by Hurricane Run. The Grade 2-placed gray previously captured the One Dreamer S. at Kentucky Downs last September.

Colonel Power S.

The transfer of the $100,000 Colonel Power S. from turf to dirt made no difference to Just Might, who authoritatively defended in his title in the 5 1/2-furlong dash by five lengths under Colby Hernandez.

Never pressured after making the lead soon after the start, Just Might earned his first win since the 2020 Colonel Power. A homebred racing for Griffon Farms and trainer Michelle Lovell, Just Might covered the distance in 1:02.75 and paid $7.40. Extravagant Kid, the 8-5 favorite, rallied late to edge Went West for second by three parts of a length.

A five-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Justin Philip, Just Might was produced by the Dynameaux mare Dynamite Babe. Twice Grade 2-placed last summer, Just Might had finished second in the Richard Scherer Memorial and Duncan F. Kenner S. in two earlier starts at the Fair Grounds meet.