Alysheba Stakes Picks: Maxfield towers over usual suspects

The talented Maxfield finds himself in an ideal spot in the G2 Alysheba
The talented Maxfield finds himself in an ideal spot in the G2 Alysheba

The Grade II Alysheba Stakes open up the Derby City-6 on Oaks Day this Friday at Churchill Downs. Maxfield looks like a short-priced favorite but what does our in-house handicapper think...?

He previews the race below along with his full slate of selections for the card under the Twin Spires. For picks from across the US this Friday then check out our Picks page (linked to below) which is updated overnight with a full slate of selections from the team...

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Maxfield (#6) was exposed somewhat last out in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, where he suffered the first loss of his career, but his reputation was built beating up fields like the one he meets in the G3 Alysheba and that’s precisely what I expect him to do here. I actually don’t think he ran poorly at all in the Big Cap as he may not really want to go a mile and a quarter and he had to ship cross-country for the race. Anyone disappointed with his performance that day is probably not a big proponent of speed figures, as based on his prior races that he’s been miscast as some kind of superstar. That said, he is a very talented horse, and the Beyer Speed Figures he routinely earns in the high 90’s put him on a different level compared to the rest of this group, which lacks any kind of standout. I also like that Maxfield showed some newfound early speed in his races at Fair Grounds earlier this year, as that should give him plenty of options from his wide post, and unlike the Big Cap he’s going to have home-court advantage here. With all that in mind, I have a hard time seeing him getting beat.

If someone is to unseat Maxfield in this edition of the Alysheba, I suppose it’s Roadster (#5), who rejoins the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert after racing under the Mike Stidham banner for one start. In his prior stint with Baffert, Roadster appeared more like a one-turn kind of a horse, excelling primarily at seven furlongs, however on occasion he did run well around two turns. In his lone start with Stidham, which came off a lengthy layoff in the G2 New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds, he actually ran pretty well going 1 ⅛ miles as he set an honest pace and dug in gamely to finish fourth, beaten by less than a length. It’s likely he gained some much-needed fitness from that race, and I would expect him to move forward off it, especially as the hyper-potent Baffert resumes training duties. Roadster also happens to be catching a field completely devoid of early speed, so I’m expecting him to lead this bunch a long way. As for the rest, there isn’t terribly much to recommend, just the usual fare Maxfield typically stomps on.


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