WALSH HOPES TO KEEP LUCK OF THE IRISH GOING WITH MAXFIELD
Ahh yes, the luck of the Irish… is it for real? For one of the hottest Thoroughbred trainers in the racing game today it has been. And he hopes to find more of those lucky charms when he sends his stable star to post in the Stephen Foster on June 26.
Brendan Walsh has enjoyed some nice success during the 2021 Spring meet at Churchill Downs. Entering the final week of competition beneath the twin spires, this native of Cork, Ireland has saddled seventeen winners from 56 starters with four second place finishes and six thirds. That means the hard-working Irishman has finished in the money with 48% of his horses and rode home with earnings in excess of $1.3 million.
“We have had a great meet at Churchill and of course luck has been a part of it,” says Walsh. “Anyone that knows the game understands racing luck is always a part of winning. I think what’s been more of a factor is we have been able to enjoy better stock in our horses and our team has worked extremely hard. It has been an accumulation of a lot of things and you learn to enjoy it while you can because we also know things in this game can change at any moment.”
With a decade of conditioning Thoroughbreds now under his belt, Walsh is indeed enjoying the fruits of his hard work. There are many talented runners in his barn, but the somewhat unlucky Maxfield is the most recognizable name working for Walsh. After a powerful score in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in October of 2019, it looked as if this son of Street Sense was ready to be placed with his pappy as a Kentucky Derby champ. Injury prevented him from running in that year’s Breeders’ Cup, and with the delay in scheduling for the 2020 Kentucky Derby it still looked as if things would be okay.
Under the diligent care of Walsh, this impressive frame of a horse made his way back to the track and won the Matt Winn stakes impressively in late May of 2020. Just when it seemed Walsh would have him ready for a run at history, the unfortunate injury bug bit again and it was back to the injured reserve.
Carefully nursing his charge back to health, Walsh has been able to send Maxfield to post four times since late December of 2020. Recording three stakes wins including the grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill on April 30,2021, it looks as if this Godolphin owned runner is ready to roll with a four-leaf clover.
“He has always been impressive physically, but I think he has really filled out and matured “, says Walsh. “I like everything about him but I think his greatest asset is his mind. He has dealt with a lot of adversity and handled it all very well. The mindset he possesses is something you can’t teach. He loves to work and he loves to run. He’s a real competitor.”
The next chance to compete comes on Saturday June 26 in the closing day feature at Churchill. The Stephen Foster is a Breeders’ Cup Classic win and you are in race and will give Maxfield an excellent chance to prove his worth. One of the more prestigious races on the summer card for older horses, this mile and an eighth race’s winners include names like Awesome Again, Saint Liam, Curlin, Fort Larned, and Gun Runner to name just a few.
With a somewhat compact but talented field expected, Maxfield will certainly need his A game to win. With that and a little luck, Walsh and his runner should be just fine.
“He hasn’t missed a beat since the Alysheba and continues to do well”, says Walsh. “I think we are really starting to see what he might be capable of. He is more seasoned now and we hope to have a little luck and stay healthy.”
First post on June 26 will be at 12:45 eastern time with the Foster as the headliner of a 12 race card.