Grade 1 Winner Gunite Captures Churchill’s Maxfield Overnight Stakes In Second Start Off Long Layoff - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Grade 1 Winner Gunite Captures Churchill’s Maxfield Overnight Stakes In Second Start Off Long Layoff

Gunite, inside, edges My Prankster in the Maxfield Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs

Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Gunite slipped through an opening along the inside rail at the top of the stretch and determinedly turned back late charges from My Prankster and Hoist the Gold to win Sunday's first running of the $160,000 Maxfield Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Gunite won by a half-length, with the victory providing jockey Tyler Gaffalione his ninth stakes win of the Spring Meet – the most since Robby Albarado won eight in 2005.

Gunite, the odds-on 4-5 favorite in the field of six 3-year-olds, clocked seven furlongs over fast track in 1:23.08 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. As a 2-year-old, Gunite won the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga.

Overtaxed dictated the pace through a first quarter mile in :23.08 and the half in :46.25 as Gunite tracked in third along the inside rail.

As the field turned for the homestretch run, a tiring Overtaxed fanned out wide on the lead and opened an inside seam for Gunite to slip through. He grabbed the lead with his rail run with three-sixteenths of a mile left and was resolute to hold off late runs from My Prankster, who rallied from last, and Hoist the Gold, who challenged with a four-wide move throughout the lane.

“He didn't break as sharply today so I was in a bit of a tight spot at the rail up the backside,” Gaffalione said. “Turning for home I just bided my time and stayed at the rail and he kicked on well.”

Gunite paid $3.80

My Prankster, the 7-5 second betting choice, finished a head in front of third-place finisher Hoist the Gold, a 30-1 longshot.

Tejano Twist, Burninhunkoflove, and Overtaxed rounded out the field.

Gunite, a Kentucky-bred son of Gun Runner out of the Cowboy Cal mare Simple Surprise, improved his record to 3-3-1 in eight starts. The $97,311 first prize boosted his career earnings to $438,099.

Guinite made his return from an eight-month layoff June 3 and ran second in an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs. The race marked his first start since finishing fifth in the Champagne Stakes (G1) October 2 at Belmont.

“We're really happy to get him back in the winner's circle,” Asmussen said. “He didn't break as sharp today as we expected. Tyler got him in a good rhythm up the backside and we're fortunate he was able to win today.”

In addition to the Maxfield, Gaffalione, who has already clinched his eighth Churchill Downs riding title, won the Grade 3 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (Santin); Mamzelle (Twilight Gleaming); Grade 3 Winning Colors (Sconsin); Aristides (Bango); Blame (Dynamic One); Leslie's Lady (Wicked Halo); Monomoy Girl (Society); and Tepin (Wicked Halo).

For Asmussen, it was his meet-leading fifth stakes win. The others were the Grade 1 La Troienne (Pauline's Pearl); Grade 1 Churchill Downs (Jackie's Warrior); Leslie's Lady (Wicked Halo); Monomoy's Girl (Society), and Tepin (Wicked Halo).

The Maxfield Stakes is named in honor of Godolphin's eight-time winner Maxfield, a two-time Grade 1 winner who won his career finale in last year's Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs before launching his stallion career earlier this year at Darley in Lexington.

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