2020 Matt Winn Stakes (Churchill Downs) - Predictions & Betting Odds

If you're playing only to win, go with my top value picks, Ny Traffic and Mystic Guide.

Post Position and Odds – Matt Winn Stakes

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 MYSTIC GUIDE 12/1 B J Hernandez M Stidham
2 PNEUMATIC 5/1 R Santana Jr. S Asmussen
3 INFORMATIVE 50/1 J Bisono U St. Lewis
4 CELTIC STRIKER 50/1 M Franco R Handal
5 FLAP JACK 30/1 R Bejarano J Sisterson
6 NY TRAFFIC 5/1 P Lopez S Joseph Jr.
7 NECKER ISLAND 20/1 T Gaffalione S Hough
8 CRYPTO CASH 20/1 C Lanerie K McPeek
9 SHAKE SOME ACTION 15/1 J Castellano B Cox
10 MAXFIELD 8/5 J Ortiz B Walsh
11 ATTACHMENT RATE 12/1 J Velazquez D Romans
12 MAJOR FED 6/1 J Rosario G Foley

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Will Maxfield, the horse who was so impressive as a juvenile, but has been away for more than seven months, quickly become a top contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby? That will be the question to be answered on Saturday as a field of 12 takes to the track at Churchill Downs for the Grade 3, $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile race on the main track will offer 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, and it will also be the first start for the son of Street Sense since he rolled home an authoritative winner of last fall’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. A minor injury kept him out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and a shot at an Eclipse Award. Then surgery delayed his sophomore debut, but in this year of craziness, he is now back on the Derby trail.

Maxfield’s top competition on Saturday includes a pair of horses that have already battled each other twice this year at Fair Grounds in Louisiana Derby runner-up NY Traffic and Risen Star second-place finisher, Major Fed. Pneumatic, undefeated in two starts and from the barn of Steve Asmussen, should also garner plenty of support.

Matt Winn Race Information

What: Matt Winn Stakes (G3)

Where: Churchill Downs

When: Saturday, May 23 — 5:44 pm Eastern time

How to watch: Fox Sports

Purse: $150,000

Race Analysis


At long last we get to see what this impressive grade 1 winner can do in his second season on the racetrack. After a determined run to get the win at Churchill Downs in his career debut, he followed it up with a powerful stakes victory at Keeneland. The minor injury and subsequent surgery to remove bone chips have kept him away from the races since early October, but he has been working steadily for his return and looks ready to show why he is so well-liked. There’s good reason to believe that he could be one of the best of this crop, but having said that, he has found a difficult spot for his return and will need to come out running to validate his clear favoritism on Saturday.

Ny Traffic

A solid second while running longer in the Louisiana Derby, he should have no trouble handling the cutback in distance for the Matt Winn. The gray colt was uninspiring as a juvenile but has really picked it up this year with three strong efforts. In a race without much speed, he should be able to dictate things on the front end. This looks to be his best opportunity to beat a number of lightly raced colts who are on their way up. He drew a good post position, and Paco Lopez is the right rider to see if he can take them all the way around.


Unbeaten in two starts, he was one of the most talked-about horses at Oaklawn Park not trained by Bob Baffert. A sharp winner sprinting in his debut for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, he looked even better going a flat mile last time while beating a good allowance group. His stalking running style should also serve him well as he moves up to graded stakes competition on Saturday. The son of Uncle Mo could be a good one, but he may be a bit overplayed going against a tough field in here.

Major Fed

Like the favorite, this one does not have much early speed, and that got him in a little bit of trouble in the Louisiana Derby. He broke slowly and ran wide the whole way in the 1 3/16-mile race. He kept trying but never could get near the winner, while just missing third. Now he cuts back a furlong for his third try in stakes company. He looks like a horse to keep an eye on when the distances get longer, but he might be lacking the explosive move needed to beat this group at 8 ½ furlongs.

Mystic Guide

This might be the only time you see this regally bred son of Ghostzapper at juicy odds. He’s only run twice to date and both came against maidens, but his potential looks extremely high. After finishing fast to run third in a maiden sprint in February at Fair Grounds, he came back a month later to dominate a big field going 1 1/16-miles. Working well since for trainer Mike Stidham, he looks primed to be a serious stakes horse. Like Maxfield, he is a Godolphin homebred.

Attachment Rate

Trained by top local trainer Dale Romans, this lightly raced son of Hard Spun will be making his third try in stakes competition in the Matt Winn. The first two weren’t bad, finishing third in the Gotham, and then second to the talented Dr Post last time in the Unbridled. This test is deeper, so he would need to take a step forward. In with a shot, but I like others better.

Shake Some Action

Of the real longshots, he is the most interesting. Trained by Brad Cox, the son of Into Mischief beat a nice allowance field in New Orleans two starts back, and was hampered by a less than ideal trip last time while finishing 6th of 14 in the Louisiana Derby. He also reunites with top rider Javier Castellano, who rode him to victory in the allowance race.

Necker Island

After winning two straight at Churchill Downs last fall, he has been unable to finish in the money in three stakes tries this year in South Florida and New York. A return to Louisville might help, but it sure looks like his best is a cut below what he will see on Saturday.

Crypto Cash

He returned to dirt last time out and could only manage a middle of the pack finish in the division of the Arkansas Derby won by Charlatan. Lacking much early speed, it’s hard to see him drastically improving upon that effort.

Flap Jack

A stakes winner at 2, he’s returned with a pair of uninspiring tries so far this year. The last one was slop, so he could improve, but the level of competition here looks a bit too much for him to handle.


After taking eight tries to break his maiden, his seventh-place finish in the Gotham gives little reason to expect him to seriously compete on Saturday against a deeper and stronger group.

Celtic Striker

Dead last of 11 in the Gotham last time at odds of well over 100/1, he looks to be the one who could pressure Ny Traffic early. After that, expect him to back right out as he has done in both stakes tries to date.

Best Bets for the Matt Winn

Here are my plays ($54 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Ny Traffic, Mystic Guide and Maxfield = $30

$2 Exacta Part Wheel – Ny Traffic and Mystic Guide over Major Fed, Pneumatic and Shake Some Action = $12

$2 Exacta Part Wheel – Major Fed, Pneumatic and Shake Some Action over Ny Traffic and Mystic Guide = $12

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top value picks, Ny Traffic and Mystic Guide.

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