George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds' Max Player has been moved to trainer Steve Asmussen ahead of an expected run in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and will train at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old Honor Code colt has been based with trainer Linda Rice in New York.
"Max Player has been moved to the Asmussen barn in order to prepare for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs," Rice wrote on Twitter. "We are disappointed to see him go, but we wish George Hall and SportBLX the best of luck!"
"I think he's doing fine, sound. I'm excited to get him to Churchill because I'm a believer it's good for a horse to train over a track he's going to run on for a period of time. I'm excited for him," Hall said.
Max Player kicked off this season by winning the Feb. 1 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack, returned at Belmont Park June 20 to finish third in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), and ran third again in the Aug. 8 Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course. Both the Belmont and Travers were won by Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law.
"Tiz the Law is such a spectacular horse. There's no shame in losing to Tiz the Law. I would have preferred to take second or win in both of those races but I'm pretty proud of his performance," Hall said. "If you look at (Max Player's) Beyer Figures they've steadily gone up. The jockey (Joel Rosario) thought he did great and was still improving so we're pretty excited to go to the biggest 3-year-old race there is."
Max Player sits ninth on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 60 points.
A homebred for Hall, Max Player is out of the stakes-winning Not for Love mare Fools in Love, also the dam of group 2 winner Seahenge, grade 3-placed Urban Bourbon, and stakes-placed Frank's Folly. Prior to the Belmont, fractional shares in the sophomore colt became available through SportBLX, which Hall worked to develop along with co-founder Joe De Perio.
"The goal all along with this horse has been to get him to the Derby," Hall said. "I want to get him down to Churchill. Linda has done a spectacular job, but I didn't really think there was much else in New York for us. I just wanted to do what I could in the best interest of the horse which, I think, is to go to the Derby."
Max Player has earned $373,500 from a 2-1-2 record in five starts.