Max Player, Montauk Traffic continue to train amid waiting game

Max Player, Montauk Traffic continue to train amid waiting game
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Linda Rice said she is continuing to play the waiting game at Belmont Park with promising sophomores Max Player and Montauk Traffic amid the uncertainty around the upcoming national stakes schedule because of the circumstances regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Rice said the G3 Withers winner Max Player, owned by George E. Hall, was pointing to the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2) slated for April 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Chris Fountoukis' Montauk Traffic captured the Jimmy Winkfield in February at Aqueduct ahead of a rallying fourth in the G3 Gotham on March 7. Rice said she was targeting the $250,000 Bay Shore (G3) with Montauk Traffic, a son of Cross Traffic. The seven-furlong sprint for sophomores also is slated for April 4 at Aqueduct.

"Right now, I have a couple nice 3-year-olds I was excited about running in the Wood Memorial and the Bay Shore," said Rice. "I'm anxious to hear of adjustments to the schedule regarding preps for the Belmont Stakes and what they're going to do with the rest of the 3-year-old classics. We know where the Derby is, but we're not sure what other changes there might be."

Max Player, by Honor Code, last breezed on March 18, covering 7 furlongs in 1:27.20 on the Belmont training track.

"We worked him seven-eighths last time and considering we don't have a target just yet, we're spacing his works out a little bit more," said Rice. "We breezed Montauk Traffic this past week (six furlongs in 1:14.33 on March 25). We had a little rain in the forecast, but we should be able to breeze Max Player again shortly."

Alpha Delta Stables' Scilly Cay captured the Rego Park on Jan. 12 to provide Rice her 2,000th career win. But the New York-bred son of Fed Biz was off the board in two subsequent efforts when fourth in the Gander and sixth in the Damon Runyon.

"We sent him out for a break. He tailed off his last two races and with us not racing, it was the right time to do so," Rice said. "He came out of the last race OK, but I felt like his performance had tailed off."

Rice said Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' multiple stakes-winning, New York-bred Newly Minted also is enjoying some downtime after her runner-up effort last out in the Heavenly Prize Invitational.

"She had been in training for over a year and accomplished a lot," Rice said of the Central Banker filly who notched stakes wins last season in the NYSSS Park Avenue at Aqueduct, Bouwerie at Belmont and Fleet Indian at Saratoga. "I was planning to give her a break this summer but considering where we are right now, I decided to send her out last week."

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