TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Max Player

11) MAX PLAYER (c, Honor CodeFools in Love, by Not For Love)
O-George E. Hall & SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp. B-K&G Stables (KY). T-Linda Rice. Sales History: $150,000 RNA yrl ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 4-2-1-1, $273,500.
Last Start: 3rd GI Belmont S., BEL, June 20
Accomplishments Include: 1st GIII Withers S., AQU, Feb. 1
Next Start: Uncommitted.
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 40.

Yes, Max Player’s third in the Belmont S. does have a “picked up the pieces” aura to it. But he’s a fresh face coming off a 4 1/2-month layoff, and that still was a pretty nice sustained run he uncorked from the back of the pack. It included a bit of maneuvering for position entering the turn and then having to switch outside charging into the lane. The honest pace established by the frontrunners certainly set up that type of move, but neither second-place finisher Dr Post nor Max Player were seriously threatening Tiz the Law. But what happens in the “race within the race” can be beneficial too, and this $150,000 KEESEP RNA will be a better Derby candidate for the experience. Trainer Linda Rice told TDN‘s Christie DeBernardis last week that Max was “a bit of an enigma” at age two whose progress over time has been “slow and steady.” On Sunday, Rice said a decision on a next start would be a week or 10 days away.