George Hall's Max Player (Honor Code), winner of the Feb. 12 GIII Withers S., worked seven furlongs in 1:27.20 (1/1) at Belmont Park last Wednesday. The sophomore had been expected to make his next start in the Apr. 4 GII Wood Memorial S. before racing was suspended in New York.
“He worked really well,” said trainer Linda Rice. “We had planned on shooting towards the Wood Memorial and he had been training really nicely into that race.”
Rice said the recent announcement moving the GI Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs could work in Max Player's favor.
“Frankly, I think it might help us,” said Rice. “It will give him more time to mature. We didn't get him started until December of his 2-year-old year, so I really think that's going to work in our favor.”
Max Player broke his maiden in his second start at Parx last Dec. 17 and was making just his third start in the nine-furlong Withers.
Also making a recent appearance on the New York work tab, Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control (Stay Thirsty) worked three furlongs in :36.04 (4/36) Saturday at Belmont.
Winner of the 2018 GI Hopeful S. and 2019 GI H. Allen Jerkens S., the 4-year-old is coming off a win in the Mar. 7 GIII Tom Fool H. and had been pointed towards the Apr. 4 GI Carter H.
“He went super well within himself and galloped out very strong,” said trainer Gregg Sacco. “He cooled out great and scoped clean. He continues to train well and he enjoys what he's doing. We'll keep him on his natural progression. He'll work again next Saturday and take it from there.”
Sacco is continuing to keep his stable in running order while awaiting the opportunity to race again.
“We're going to keep horses on their schedules, but we might ease up a little with the uncertainty. Mind Control's work was three-eighths and we had him scheduled for a half-mile yesterday,” said Sacco. “We'll take back with some of them. I have a few unraced 3-year-olds that we were going to do gate work with, so we might ease up a little bit on them.
“We just want to maintain their health and make sure they're not coming over the webbing,” he added. “It's important to maintain some normalcy in the routine at the barn.”