Max Player (Honor Code), third in both the GI Belmont S. and GI Runhappy Travers S. behind expected GI Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law (Constitution), worked in company Monday morning at Churchill Downs as he continued his preparations for the Sept. 5 Derby. Under jockey Florent Geroux, Max Player completed a five-eighths work in :59.60 during the 15-minute window set aside exclusively for Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks contenders.
Off at approximately 7:30 a.m., Max Player began the move two lengths behind his stablemate, Allege (Uncle Mo), and finished on even terms at the wire. He recorded splits of :23.80 for the quarter and :35.80 for three furlongs, galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.60.
“He worked really well behind his workmate,” said Geroux, who was deputizing for rider Ricardo Santana, Jr., who is scheduled to have the mount for the Derby. “I think he will like the 1 1/4-mile distance in the Derby. I was working the horse this morning because Ricardo is still at Saratoga. Steve [Asmussen] has given me many great opportunities in my career so I always try to help when he needs me. I will be on [trainer] Bob Baffert's horse Thousand Words [Pioneerof the Nile] in the Derby.”
Sporting the colors of George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp., Max Player was trained by New York-based Linda Rice through the Aug. 8 Travers before being transferred to Asmussen. Never off the board in five career starts, he opened his sophomore campaign with a win in the GIII Withers S. Feb. 1 prior to his placings in the Belmont and Travers.