Unforgettable Max is looking to shed the unforgettable part of his name and add a grade stakes win to his resume in the Dec. 13 $100,000 Queen's County Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
The Ben Perkins-trained Unforgettable Max won his only race over the inner track, a six-furlong allowance against 2-year-olds last December. He exited the race with an injury to a hind ankle that pushed him to the sidelines until July.
Since his return to the races in July at Monmouth Park, the son of Northern Afleet has proven he belongs in graded stakes company. He won his second start off the layoff by 10 3/4 lengths in a second-level allowance at Monmouth, then stayed on well for a third-place finish after setting the pace in the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup.
"He was pressed most of the way in the Meadowlands Cup and he dug in and fought hard," Perkins said of his charge who was disqualified to fourth in that race for interference at the start.
Most recently, Unforgettable Max returned to Aqueduct on Oct. 29 for the Discovery Handicap (gr. III). Sitting a good stalking trip throughout, the colt made the lead at the top of the stretch and finished gamely to the wire, only to be outnosed by During.
"I though his race in the Discovery was excellent," Perkins said. "That was a tough beat, but the winner is a nice horse."
Another expected Queen's County starter, Thunder Blitz, enters the race off a tough photo finish loss. The 5-year-old son of Holy Bull relaxed just off the pace set by Presidental Affair and kicked on nicely in the stretch, but could not get by the speed in The Stuyvesant Handicap (gr. III).
The Stuyvesant was Thunder Blitz's first start in the barn of Rihcard Dutrow Jr. after a 1-6 stint with Bobby Frankel.
The field for Saturday's $100,000 Queen's County Handicap (gr. III) includes:
1 -- Unforgettable Max (Javier Castellano, 113)
2 -- Peekskill (Victor Carrero, 112)
3 -- Nothing Flat (Josiah Hampshire Jr., 112)
4 -- Country Be Gold (Shaun Bridgmohan, 114)
5 -- Newfoundland (Richard Migliore, 112)
6 -- Thunder Blitz (Jorge Chavez, 114)
7 -- Last Intention (Aaron Gryder, 114)
8 -- Patriot's Song (Mike Luzzi, 110)