HANSEN 2YR OLD COLT
NAMED HORSE OF THE YEAR AFTER WINNING BC JUVENILE, has stayed in form
winning the Gotham Stakes placing 2nd in the Bluegrass Stakes..
IN THE GOTHAM!
Easily handling a full field in the $400,000 Gotham (gr. III) ) was only
part of the good news for the connections of champion Hansen March 3 at
Aqueduct. Just as important was seeing the son of Tapit relax in the early
going before using his brilliant speed en route to his first victory of
Hansen rebounded from
his first career defeat in the Jan. 29 Holy Bull (gr. III) by destroying
a dozen rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Gotham. He scored by three lengths under
Ramon Dominguez and reaffirmed his status as one of the top contenders
for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Making
his first start in New York, the gray/roan colt won for the fourth time
in five starts, covering the distance on the good inner track in 1:43.84
as the 4-5 favorite.
The winning colt is owned Dr. Kendall Hansen, who bred him in Kentucky,
and Harvey Diamond. Mike Maker is the trainer.
THE BREEDERS CUP JUVENILE 2011!
Even the world’s
best 2-year-olds couldn’t catch Hansen this time.
The gray son of Tapit
followed his career script by taking the lead out of the gate and then
held off the more highly regarded duo of Union Rags and Creative Cause
to capture Saturday’s $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
Hansen had won his two previous races at Turfway Park by a combined 25½
lengths — including the Kentucky Cup Juvenile on Sept. 24 —
and had earned $73,305.
Saturday’s victory was worth $1.08 million and stamped Hansen as
a 2012 Kentucky Derby front-runner — at least as much as one can
be six months out.
“You dream about it your whole life, and when it happens it’s
hard to take in all at once,” said Louisville-based trainer Mike
Maker, who picked up his second Breeders’ Cup victory after winning
with Furthest Land in the 2009 Dirt Mile. “It’s a great feeling.”
Hansen, with Ramon Dominguez riding, covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast
surface in 1:44.44 and paid $16.20 as the 7-1 third betting choice. Favorite
Union Rags was a head back in second place, with second betting choice
Creative Cause another length back in third.
Union Rags trainer Michael Matz said a wide trip cost his horse, who had
the No. 10 post in the field of 13.
“One jump after the wire, I was in front,” Union Rags jockey
Javier Castellano said. “But that’s horse racing. I’m
disappointed in the result, but I’m not disappointed in my horse.”
Creative Cause trainer Mike Harrington said he was concerned about Hansen
running away with the race.
“But who was going to go with him?” Harrington said. “I
think it would have been a mistake if we had gone with him. (Creative
Cause) ran well. I was happy.”
Hansen set fractions of 23.26 seconds for the quarter mile and 47.39 for
the half, with Speightscity stalking him 1 to 2 lengths behind.
Hansen increased his lead entering the stretch and then held off the late
“Going into the first turn, he was a little aggressive; that made
me a little concerned,” Dominguez said. “When we got to the
backside, he switched to his right (lead) and he came back to me and relaxed
Maker said he wasn’t surprised by the way Hansen dug in after being
challenged. “Even though he won the races pretty handily, he’s
always been a fighter,” Maker said. “He’s a very tough
horse to handle on a daily basis, and he did what he does.”
Hansen was named for the family of breeder and co-owner Dr. Kendall Hansen,
who recently sold minority interest of the horse to Louisville-based Skychai
Hansen said he had several suitors wanting to buy the horse after the
Kentucky Cup Juvenile victory.
“I got calls from as far away as Ireland,” said Kendall Hansen,
who kissed the ground in the winner’s circle after the win. “But
they also told me that the offer I got from Skychai was a really reasonable,
nice offer. I’m very happy about it.”
Maker said he’ll likely send Hansen to Florida for the winter and
plan out a 2012 campaign.
Turns out Kendall Hansen was thinking about 2012 when he named the horse.
“When I looked up and saw that the name was available, I saw that
the last time it was used was 1978, the last Triple Crown (Affirmed),”
Hansen said. “I hope he can have a nice 3-year-old campaign.”