With their respective wins in Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races at Churchill Downs on June 26, Kentucky-breds Maxfield and Letruska secured berths in this year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. In winning the $600,000 Stephen Foster S. (G2), Maxfield earned an automatic berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), while Letruska, winner of the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2), stamped her ticket to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
With his impressive 3 ¼-length score in the Stephen Foster, Maxfield, a son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, also became a millionaire. The $357,120 winner’s share of the purse increased the Godolphin homebred’s earnings to $1,265,902. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Maxfield is produced from the Bernardini mare Velvety. Maxfield displayed a brilliant turn of foot to score as he pleased, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.53.
“It was a really good performance,” Walsh said. “It looks like he continues to improve all the time. Thankfully, now he’s been good and healthy. Our goal has been to get a good string of races into him, and that’s starting to happen. I’m glad to get over another obstacle. We’ll hope he comes out of the race in good order, and we’ll move on to the next one.”
Godolphin’s Jimmy Bell said, “He settled down up the backside and down the lane, he finished in a strong hand ride. It’s his fourth start of the year, so it’s good to see the succession of races coming together. We can look at the (Aug. 7) Whitney (G1) as a primary target.”
Letruska, a winner of three straight—all in graded races—validated her status as the top older dirt female with a convincing triumph, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.57. A daughter of Super Saver out of the Successful Appeal mare Magic Appeal is a St. George Stables homebred trained by Fausto Gutierrez. Letruska has won 15 of 20 starts and has bankrolled $1,616,459.
“She is a spectacular horse,” said Gutierrez. “I don’t really like to say what’s next, but she was great today. We know she’s a really nice dirt horse and is supposed to win at different racetracks and different conditions for a possible Horse of the Year campaign.”