TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Max Player

5) MAX PLAYER (c, Honor CodeFools in Love, by Not For Love)
O-George E. Hall & SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp. B-K&G Stables (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Sales History: $150,000 RNA yrl ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW & MGISP, 6-2-1-2, $463,500.

Max Player inherited the dreaded one hole after a scratch, and this first-crop Honor Code colt ($150,000 KEESEP RNA) got a decent schooling out of the experience while rallying nicely through traffic to snag fifth with a late spurt. Even before the field completed the first furlong, you could see Max was getting pelted with kickback while down inside, and jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. guided him to the back of the pack to save ground through the first turn and onto the backstretch. As the field tightened up entering the far turn, Santana opted to move out rather than try to weave through traffic at the fence. But even being eight paths wide into the lane Max could still not avoid shifting off heels and having to maneuver for better positioning. When a clear hole did finally materialize, Max dove through with interest. That could be the “Ah-ha!” moment that signals advancement into the upper echelon of the sophomore ranks might not be as far off as it seems for this colt.