Max Player Outduels Mystic Guide To Take Suburban At Belmont

Max Player’s last win came 17 months ago in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track in New York, Ny. In Saturday’s Grade 2 Suburban Stakes, the son of Honor Code finally returned to the winner’s circle after his long absence, and, in the process, earned a spot in the starting gate for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar Nov. 6.

Sloppy after a deluge earlier in the day, the Belmont surface had been kinder to horses running away from the rail, which is where jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. placed Max Player early in the ten-furlong Suburban, just off of leader Moretti. From the break, Moretti held a length advantage over Max Player on his outside and Mystic Guide on his inside, Happy Saver just behind them. In a race that had been billed as another battle between Happy Saver and Mystic Guide, it was Moretti that did all of the early running, with the rest of the field content to wait for the right moment to make their move.

As the field came out of that sweeping final turn, Mystic Guide made his run for the lead on the rail, moving toward the center of the track once he was clear of Moretti. On the outside, Max Player and Santana moved as well, meeting Mystic Guide halfway down the stretch. The two dueled for the race’s last furlong with Max Player digging in to win the Suburban by a neck. Mystic Guide, making his first start since winning the Dubai World Cup on March 27, finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of Happy Saver in third. The final time for the mile and a quarter was 2:01.95.

Moretti, Informative, and Prioritize rounded out the field. Find the race’s chart here.

The G2 Suburban Stakes is a Win and You’re In race for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif. Winners receive a free and guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.

Ricardo Santana, Jr. credited Max Player for his fighting spirit in that stretch duel. “He was training really well,” Santana, Jr. said. “If you saw him in the paddock, he was looking unbelievable. He always runs well on this track. He always tries hard. Today, he broke well and put me right there. I took the spot and no one wanted to go. As soon as he felt him inside, he kept on fighting until the end.”

Trainer Steve Asmussen knew that the clear trip would give his colt confidence to finish the way he did. “He’s been here since Pimlico and he had been doing really well,” said Asmussen assistant Toby Sheets. “He’s kind of a funny horse. He always has more, but sometimes he doesn’t give it. He had a clear trip today and that helped so much. He finished well. He needed a little confidence builder and he got one today. He ran a nice race.”

Bred in Kentucky by K & G Stables, Max Player is a 4-year-old colt by Honor Code out of the Not For Love mare Fools In Love. Consigned by Lane’s End, he was a $150,000 RNA at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is owned by George E. Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds and trained by Steve Asmussen. The G2 Suburban is Max Player’s third career win in ten starts for earnings of $717,500.

The post Max Player Outduels Mystic Guide To Take Suburban At Belmont appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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