Saturday Insights: GISW Max Player Makes 2023 Debut At Oaklawn

Max Player wins the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup | Sarah Andrew


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3rd-OP, $106K, OC, 4yo/up, 1 1/16m, 2:03 p.m.

Last seen checking in fourth in last July's GII Suburban S. at Belmont, MAX PLAYER (Honor Code) makes his 6-year-old debut Saturday in an optional claimer at Oaklawn. The picture of consistency throughout his career, the Steve Asmussen trainee was a Triple Crown contender in 2020, placing third behind Tiz the Law (Constitution) in both the rescheduled GI Belmont S. and the GI Runhappy Travers S. before finishing fifth behind future Horse of the Year Authentic (Into Mischief) in the GI Kentucky Derby. He was not a factor in the 2021 G1 Saudi Cup but returned to home soil a winner two starts later in the GII Suburban S. before posting a career-best effort with a win in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. Never better than fourth in his next four starts, Max Player was benched after trying to defend his title in the Suburban.

Breaking just to his inside, Caddo River (Hard Spun) will make his first start for Hall of Famer D Wayne Lukas after three years with trainer Brad Cox. TJCIS PPS

4th-OP, $90K, Msw, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 2:34 p.m.

A Calumet Farm homebred also out of the D Wayne Lukas barn, GAME KEEPER (Honor Code) is a half-brother to G1 Emirates Airline Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 winner Capezzano (Bernardini). Dam Cableknit is herself a half to champion sprinter and leading sire Speightstown (Gone West) as well as MGSW & MGISP Irap (Tiznow). Her half-sister Amour d'Ete (Tiznow) would go on to produce GI Preakness S. winner Early Voting (Gun Runner). TJCIS PPS

3rd-FG, $50K, Msw, 3yo, 7 1/2fT, 3:15 p.m.

Out of GI La Troienne S. winner Molly Morgan (Ghostzapper), KID KETCHUM (Tapit) is a Triple Crown-nominated colt racing out of the Brad Cox barn. Bred by Stonestreet Farm and owned by a large syndicate group of which Stonestreet remains a part of, the $200,000 Keeneland September yearling picks up jockey Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. for his debut. TJCIS PPS

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