Preakness Stakes Horse: Max Player

Preakness Profile: Max Player

In the days leading up to Saturday’s 145th Preakness, will be publishing profiles of the 11 horses entered in 2020’s final leg of the Triple Crown.

By Ed McNamara

Max Player

Max Player – Courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.

Max Player is a grinder without a turn of foot, and deep closers without a burst of acceleration don’t win the Preakness. His fifth-place finish in the Derby was his first out-of-the-money performance in six career starts. Stamina and consistency are his strengths. He ran third in the Belmont and Travers, but he was beaten a total of 12¾ lengths and never looked like he could win either.

Salute him for his durability, though. He’ll be the only horse to compete in all three races of a Triple Crown extended to an unprecedented 15 weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If he gets a hot pace, Max Player might be able to pass tired rivals and clunk up for third, at best. A must-use underneath in trifectas and superfectas, but definitely not a contender to win.

RELATED: Preakness Stakes Horse Profile: Liveyourbeastlife

Max Player

Odds: 15-1

Post position: No. 8

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owners: George Hall, Sportbix Thoroughbreds

Career record: 6-2-1-2

Career earnings: $463,500

Top Equibase speed figure: 105

Pedigree: Honor Code-Fools in Love, by Not for Love

Color: Dark bay

Running style: Closer

Notes: Max Player’s lead owner and breeder, George Hall, won the 2011 Belmont with long shot Ruler on Ice at the track not far from where he grew up. As a kid he was a paperboy for Newsday, so his horse made headlines in the journal he once delivered. How many people can say that? … This will be Hall’s first Preakness, and like all owners taking a shot in a classic, he’s upbeat. “If we can get a little better trip out of the gate and not fall so far behind and give him so much work to do at the end, we think that we can be competitive,” Hall said. … Max Player is 0-for-3 since taking the Withers at Aqueduct on Feb. 1. Hall switched him from trainer Linda Rice to Asmussen before the Derby.

2020 Preakness Horses and Field

2020 Preakness Stakes Odds and Post Positions
PP Horse Jockey Odds
1 Excession Sheldon Russell 30-1
2 Mr. Big News Gabriel Saez 12-1
3 Art Collector Brian Hernandez Jr. 5-2
4 Swiss Skydiver Robby Albarado 6-1
5 Thousand Words Florent Geroux 6-1
6 Jesus’ Team Jevian Toledo 30-1
7 NY Traffic Horacio Karamanos 15-1
8 Max Player Paco Lopez 15-1
9 Authentic John Velazquez 9-5
10 Pneumatic Joe Bravo 20-1
11 Liveyourbeastlife Trevor Mccarthy 30-1
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