‘Everything Is Going Smoothly’ With Travers Contender Max Player

George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds’ Max Player, the third-place finisher in last month’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, continues to train forwardly towards the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers on August 8, trainer Linda Rice said.

Max Player, who finished only behind Dr Post and winner Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes on June 20, worked for the third time since the first leg of the Triple Crown, going five furlongs in 1:02.21 on Monday morning over the Belmont Park training track.

“He breezed fine and everything went well,” Rice said. “We took it easy with him because the temperatures have been in the high-90s out there. It’s been crazy hot, but everything is going smoothly.”

The Honor Code colt, 2-1-1 in four career races, made his first two starts at Parx, running second in his debut at one mile on November 12 before winning at the same distance at second asking over a sloppy and sealed track on December 17.

In his first race as a sophomore, Max Player defeated an eight-horse field by 3 ¼ lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Withers on February 1 at Aqueduct Racetrack. In the Belmont Stakes, which was shortened from its famed 1 ½-mile distance to a one-turn 1 1/8 miles to accommodate the revised schedule for 3-year-olds in training, Max Player earned a personal-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

With the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby set for September 5 and serving as the middle jewel of the Triple Crown this year, Max Player earned 30 qualifying points for his Belmont Stakes blacktype, adding to the 10 he accumulated with his Withers win. His 40 total qualifying points places him 15th on the current leaderboard, with the Runhappy Travers offering a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top-four finishers.

“He’s on schedule,” Rice said. “We’re at our home base here. He’ll get one more breeze at Belmont and we’ll go from there.”

The “Mid-Summer Derby” is contested at 1 ¼ miles, which would make the Travers both Max Player’s first start at Saratoga and also the longest race in which he’s contested. Rice said there is a possibility he could work at Saratoga before running, but said he has already won in unfamiliar places.

“When we won in the Withers at Aqueduct, he had never been on that track, either,” Rice said. “He can handle new situations well.”

The post ‘Everything Is Going Smoothly’ With Travers Contender Max Player appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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