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Maxfield out of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with leg issue

Friday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile will showcase some of the top 2-year-old horses in the world, giving a sneak peek at who could run in the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Maxfield has been scratched from the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile because of an unspecified issue with his right front leg.

Trainer Brendan Walsh and Jimmy Bell, president of Godolphin USA, say they noticed the 2-year-old colt wasn’t himself when he went to train at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

Bell says it could be something as simple as a bruised foot, but they want to be protective of the colt.

Maxfield was the 3-1 third choice for the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, the highlight of Friday’s card at the two-day world championships.

His defection reduces the Juvenile field to eight horses, its smallest since nine ran in 2012 at Santa Anita.

Maxfield is unbeaten in two career starts, including a 5+-length victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

“We have a great horse on our hands,” Bell said, “and we look very much forward to next year.”

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9).