Max Player

Steve Asmussen Talks Banner Saratoga on Writers' Room

Early in the Saratoga meeting, Steve Asmussen broke the all-time record of number of winners for a North American trainer. It was a remarkable achievement in a remarkable career, and comes at the age of just 55 years old. It turns out he was just warming up. In a remarkable closing rush to the meeting, Asmussen won nine Grade I races in five days, including one a day in each of the last three days of the week when he sent out Echo Zulu to win the Spinaway, Gunite to...

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Hot Trainer Steve Asmussen Joins TDN Writer's Room

On his drive from Saratoga to Kentucky Downs Tuesday, Steve Asmussen stopped in every state he drove through and bought lottery tickets. Shocking that he didn't win. Coming off one of the greatest week-and-a-half stretches in racing history, during which he won five Grade I races in Saratoga over nine days, Asmussen was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week on the TDN Writer's Room, presented by Keeneland. If that wasn't enough, two of his wins, Gunite in the GI Hopeful S. and Echo Zulu in the GI Spinaway...

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Max Player Powers Clear in Jockey Club Gold Cup

George Hall and SportBLX's Max Player (Honor Code) proved his bounce-back GII Suburban S. score in July was no fluke as he again showed more speed and pulled away to an emphatic victory in the repositioned GI Jockey Club Gold Cup at Saratoga. A fringe player on last year's Triple Crown trail, the Steve Asmussen trainee has stamped himself as a legitimate GI Breeders' Cup Classic threat in two strong efforts at 10 furlongs, and earned an automatic berth into the year-end championship event Saturday as part of the "Win...

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Forza Di Oro Gets Acid Test in Jockey Club Gold Cup

Don Alberto Stable's Forza Di Oro (Speightstown) has shown considerable talent in six starts dating back to his debut in September of 2019, and he'll finally get his chance at the highest level as a likely favorite in Saturday's 10-furlong GI Jockey Club Gold Cup, being run at Saratoga for the first time in the race's storied history. Running a huge race after a disastrous start to be second at 31-1 in his unveiling, the homebred graduated next out, but took a major step backward when finishing eighth, beaten 24...

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Max Shows Honor Still Cracking the Code

When a horse carries a name like this, there can be no evasion or equivocation. With due honesty, then, let us admit that Honor Code is not yet converting his transparent eligibility as a stallion--apparently so watertight in pedigree, physique and performance--in quite the fashion that seemed likely when he produced the luminous Honor A.P. from his very first crop. Not yet. Small, agonizingly flexible words, in the context of a suffocatingly impatient marketplace. By any rational measure, it should still feel like early days in Honor Code's stud career....

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Honor Code's Max Player Upends Suburban

The betting public had Saturday's GII Suburban S. down to a battle between a pair of 'TDN Rising Stars': in one corner, Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper), whose victory in the G1 Dubai World Cup made him favored at 85 cents on the dollar, and in the other, Happy Saver (Super Saver), who got the better of Mystic Guide when first they eyeballed one another in last year's GI Jockey Club Gold Cup and the clear second choice at 8-5. Max Player (Honor Code) had yet to beat a horse of the...

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Fearless Heads Pimlico Special

WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc.'s Fearless (Ghostzapper) will attempt to give newly elected Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher his third GIII Pimlico Special S. victory after winning previously in successive years with Revolutionary (2014) and Commissioner (2015). Victorious in the GII Gulfstream Park Mile Feb. 27 in his first start in eight months, the 5-year-old rallied to be second by a half-length to Silver State in the 1 1/8-mile GII Oaklawn H. Apr. 17. "[He's doing] very good," Pletcher said. "He was very good in his first start and...

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Rispoli, Stevens Removed From Plane En Route to Saudi Cup; Velazquez Stymied in Miami

Several major shifts in riding assignments were underway Friday morning after Umberto Rispoli and John Velazquez were not allowed to fly to Saudi Arabia due to a mixup in flight arrangements Wednesday and problems with COVID-19 restrictions Thursday. Ron Anderson, the agent for Velazquez and Rosario, said that Mickael Barzalona would ride Max Player (Honor Code), that William Buick would be aboard Tacitus (Tapit) in the Saudi Cup, and that Joel Rosario would ride New York Central (Tapit) in defense of his title in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint. In the...

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U.S. Quintet Tunes Up For Saudi Cup

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—A number of trainers with horses engaged in Saturday's Saudi Cup have been unable to travel but their horses and exercise riders have shipped in, mostly over last weekend, for the second running of the $20 million contest at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. The 14-strong field includes two locally-trained horses, Great Scot (GB) (Requinto {Ire}) and Alzahzaah (KSA) (Worldly), who face competition from Britain, Japan and Bahrain as well as five runners from the United States. For most of the American contingent, stronger work had taken place on the...

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Twinspires Triple Crown Throwdown: Preakness Stakes

Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.com takes on TDN's Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap Triple Crown prep races plus the big three races themselves. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets in the preps and $200 Win/Place bets in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Highest bankroll at the end wins. DeRosa - Bankroll: $5480 - GI Kentucky Derby Result - Max Player rallied for fifth. GI Preakness S. - I wanted to bet Art Collector in the Kentucky Derby, so why not in the Preakness against arguably a...

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Max Player to Preakness

George Hall and SportsBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.'s Max Player (Honor Code) will contest the Oct. 3 GI Preakness S. at Pimlico. "I'm very excited because I haven't been in the Preakness yet," said Hall, who won the 2011 Belmont with 24-1 shot Ruler On Ice. "After the Kentucky Derby, he looked like he wanted to keep running. Steve watched him closely, and he was in great shape. He's galloped well. He's breezed well. We felt the horse was at the peak of his game and is ready to run." Winner of...

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TDN Top-to-Bottom Derby Rundown

This week's TDN Triple Crown feature examines the GI Kentucky Derby runners in detail from first to last. 1) AUTHENTIC (c, Into Mischief--Flawless, by Mr. Greeley) O-Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC & Starlight Racing. B-Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds LLC (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $350,000 yrl '18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 6-5-1-0, $2,871,200. Front-running Authentic bested 14 Derby foes in admirable, take-the-heat fashion. But it was the way this $350,000 KEESEP Into Mischief bay overcame a long season's worth of focusing issues to finally put forth a...

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