The Player, unraced since finishing second in last year's Indiana Derby (G2), is slated to make his 4-year-old debut in the Kelly's Landing Overnight Stakes on closing night of the Churchill Downs spring/summer meet June 30.
Trained by Buff Bradley, The Player was sidelined since finishing three-quarters of a length behind future grade 1 winner Cupid in the Indiana Derby July 16, his first try against graded stakes company. Prior to that runner-up effort, the chestnut son of Street Hero gained attention when he broke his maiden at third asking by 5 1/2-lengths at Churchill in May of 2016, then returned three weeks later to win a first-level allowance race.
"He's really been doing well," Bradley said. "We entered him last week in a race that didn't fill, but this spot will be fine for him. He ran a great race in the Indiana Derby. He was only narrowly defeated by Cupid. We are all excited around the barn to get him back to the races."
The Player has been a favorite of the Bradley clan since he was baby, due to his quirky tendency to sit on his haunches like a dog.
"He's such a funny horse around the barn," Bradley said. "He literally acts like a dog sometimes. He sits in his stall, which you don't see a horse do. We also bred him with my father (the late Fred Bradley), and as he grew up he's always had quite the personality. One of the funny things he does is lie down in his stall with his head sticking out below the webbing to make sure he isn't missing anything walking by him."
Owned by Bradley and Carl Hurst, The Player has a record of 2-2-0 from five starts, with $172,442 in earnings.