(Maxfield winning the G3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
We have us a new leader in the clubhouse.
We have us a new challenger to the “Baffert Bunch,” who is making news today for all the wrong reasons. Stay tuned on that Arkansas Derby front.
We have us a new #1.
In this week’s renewal of The Pressbox’s Kentucky Derby Rankings we have a new leader.
It is Maxfield. (The name that spell check loves to change, by the way.)
The undefeated 3YO son of Street Sense — a Kentucky Derby winner in his own right in 2007 — catapulted to the top of our rankings this week by virtue of his curious, make-shift, interesting, troubling, and, yet, over-powering win in the G3 Matt Winn Stakes over the famed Churchill Downs dirt last Saturday.
The victory was not pretty, mind you.
The running style was perplexing, at times. Granted.
The sudden shifts in gears was both eye-popping and stomach-turning. I will give you that.
And, the horse’s first race since winning the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland last October — some seven months ago — was even thrilling. Must admit.
But it was also overpowering.
And, even more so in my eye, given how green the colt ran in, around, up and nearly over a field of talent — if unproven — competitors.
In the end — and that’s what matters most in a horse race, after all — he jolted and bolted away and galloped out like a horse that was still full of fire and brimstone and ready to gas it around the oval again.
Thus, Maxfield runs himself to the top of the list this week, and, in our view, the top of the class.
Still, the colt has much to prove, if not improve.
Still, the colt has much to relearn, if not learn.
Still, there is plenty of time to move forward and backwards. We have seen plenty of them through the years do both.
But for now?
Maxfield is our most interesting 3YO in the country.
And, our new #1.
Here’s a look at the entire list of our top contenders:
|Horse||Sire||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Maxfield||Street Sense||Brendan Walsh||Jose Ortiz||1st in G3 Matt Winn Stakes||TBD||The Matt Winn “Win” Was Awesome Display & Yet “Green”|
|2||Authentic||Into Mischief||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||1st in G2 San Felipe Stakes||G1 Santa Anita Derby — SA on June 2||It Is About “Go Time” For This One — Again|
|3||Nadal||Blame||Bob Baffert||Joel Rosario||1st in G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Arkansas Derby Issues Now Arise? Interesting|
|4||Charlatan||Speightstown||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||1st in G1 Arkansas Derby (1)||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Or Is It This One? Interesting II|
|5||Tiz the Law||Constitution||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco||1st in G1 Florida Derby||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Cut Back to 11/8 Miles Helps This One, IMO|
|6||Honor A.P.||Honor Code||John Sherriffs||Mike Smith||2nd in G2 San Felipe Stakes||G1 Santa Anita Derby — SA on June 2||Needs to Step Up the Game To Stay In the Game|
|7||Basin||Liam’s Map||Steve Asmussen||Jose Ortiz||2nd in G1 Arkansas Derby (1)||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||His Trainer Had a Postive, Too? In the Iowa Derby? Of 2019?|
|8||Ete Indien||Summer Front||Patrick Biancone||Florent Geroux||3rd in G1 Florida Derby||TBD||Starting to Crank It Back Up / Can The Switch Click?|
|9||King Guillermo||Uncle Mo||Juan Avila||Sammy Camacho||2nd in G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||TBD||Ran Well in Arkansas / Credentials Starting to Build|
|10||Sole Volante||Karakontie||Patrick Biancone||Florent Geroux||2nd in G2 Tampa Bay Derby||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Now, We Shall Find Out What This One is Made Of|
|11||Wells Bayou||Lookin At Lucky||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||5th in the G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||TBD||Next Race Out Will Be Vital / I Think He Will Be Ready|
|12||Farmington Road||Quality Road||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||4th in G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||I Think He Runs a Big One in Belmont / A. Big. One|
|13||Modernist||Uncle Mo||Bill Mott||Junior Alvarado||3rd in G2 Louisiana Derby||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Belmont Stakes. Belmont Park. Big Stage. Big Chance|
|14||Max Player||Honor Code||Linda Rice||Dylan Davis||1st in G3 Withers Stakes||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Impressive in Withers / Like To See Against “Big Boys” Now|
|15||Enforceable||Tapit||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||5th in G2 Louisiana Derby||TBD||Ready to See Him Back & Hope Much Time Has Helped|
|16||Storm The Court||Court Vision||Peter Eurton||Flavien Prat||6th in G1 in Arkansas Derby||G3 Los Alamitos Derby — Los Al on July 4||Needs to Find 2YO Form / Soon|
|17||Wreckng Crew||Sky Kingdom||Peter Miller||Tyler Gaffalione||5th in G2 San Felipe Stakes||G1 Santa Anita Derby — SA on June 6||Scratched from Arkansas Derby; Interesting Sort To Look At|
|18||Long Weekend||Majesticperfection||Tom Amoss||Joe Talamo||1st in Bachelor Stakes||G1 Woody Stephens — Bel on June 20||Sprinter With Real Guts & Real Talent / Stretch Out?|
|19||Ny Traffic||Cross Traffic||S. Joseph, Jr.||Paco Lopez||2nd in G3 Matt Winn Stakes||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Has Shown Ability / Can He Improve More?|
|20||Mischevious Alex||Into Mischief||John Servis||Kendrick Carmouche||1st in G3 Gotham Stakes||G1 Woody Stephens — Bel on June 20||Interesting Choice of Races for a KY Derby Contender|
|1||Three Technique||Mr. Speaker||Jeremiah Englehart||Luis Saez||4th in the G2 Rebel Stakes||TBD||I Can Excuse Last One / Waiting on Next One|
|2||Mr. Big News||Giant’s Causeway||W. Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez||1st in Oaklawn Stakes||TBD||Big Run From “Big News” in a Big Race / Next?|
|2||Shooters Shoot||Competitive Edge||Peter Eurton||Joe Talamo||1st in Oaklawn Allowance||G1 Santa Anita Derby — SA on June 6||Big Chance to Move Up|
|3||Mr. Monomoy||Palace Malice||Brad Cox||Florent Geroux||1st in G2 Risen Star Stakes||TBD||1/2-Sister Came Off Bench to Win Big / His Turn?|
|4||Shotski||Blame||Jeremiah O’Dwyer||John Velazquez||4th in G2 FOY Stakes||TBD||What’s Next? Speedy Type May Need to Just Go|
|5||Independence Hall||Constitution||Michael Trombetta||Jose Ortiz||5th in G1 Florida Derby||TBD||Has Disappointed Me Too Many Times Already|
|6||Gouverneur Morris||Constitution||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||3rd in G1 Arkansas Derby (1)||G1 Belmont Stakes — Bel on June 20||Not a Fan|
|7||Silver Prospector||Declaration of War||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||7th in G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||TBD||I’ve Been a Big Fan / But Now Losing Interest|
|8||Thousand Words||Pioneerof the Nile||Bob Baffert||Flavien Prat||11th in Oaklawn Stakes||TBD||Nearly Fell at Start of Oaklawn Stakes; He Will Get Better|
|9||Structor||Palace Malice||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||1st in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf||TBD||Still Waiting|