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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

Hansen Makes a Statement in the Gotham Stakes!

After finishing second to Algorithms in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 29th, many felt that Hansen needed to make a statement in his next Derby prep race.  He did just that and more in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Hansen swept from off the pace to a three length victory.
 
There were questions about running on another wet track, about his stamina, and about his ability to deal with the 12 post position.  Trainer Michael Maker took the blinkers off Hansen for the first time and the result was a more relaxed racehorse. Instead of rushing to lead Hansen sat behind the early leader King and Crusader. The result pleased Maker, “More impressive, he lost all that ground and wasn’t rank behind horses and settled. Ramon said [on] his gallop out, he had to call the outriders to come and get him.”
 
Hansen who came into the race with the most earnings of the three-year olds on the Derby trail, with over $1,200,000 and qualifiying graded stake purses of $1,160,000, added another $240,000 to his bankroll.  Hansen was bet down to $.80-1 and paid $3.60 to win. 
 
What started out as a rainy morning turned into a warm and sunny afternoon at Aqueduct. The presence of Hansen certainly helped the day become a huge success.  Attendance was up 16 percent on-track, betting was up 9.2 percent, and the all-source handle of $14,341,072 showed an upswing of 28.5%
 
Post race festivities centered on the namesake owner Dr. Kendall Hansen.  Dr. Hansen was dressed in a royal blue tee shirt with the words “The Great White Hope 05.05.12”. The letter o was replaced with a red rose.  The rose and the date, of course refer to the goal of the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. He has been in the spotlight recently when his request to dye the mane and tail of the near white horse, was denied by the NYRA stewards. Dr. Hansen said, “I considered outfitting the horse with a blue tail extension."
 
Dr. Hansen was enjoying his time in the limelight, “It's so fun to get interviewed and get attention.”  With a big smile he quipped, “Can you tell I like attention?"
 
Most of all he was delighted with his horse’s performance, “To see him relax and see him finish up strong, that’s really what I wanted. This is perfect. I’m a little bit more relaxed when he’s tucked in and just tracking another horse and just takes it easy.”
 
Dr. Hansen was also more than happy to talk about what’s next for his two-year champion. “I wish the timing was better for the Spiral [Turfway Park, G3, March 24]. I really want to run at my hometown track, and it’d be an odd circumstance where Mike [trainer Maker] says, ‘Gosh, we really have to run him in three weeks.’ That’s what I’d really like to do, but the Wood is a really famous race. A lot of history, and it’d be a real thrill to have a chance to win that. We don’t have to run again [before the Kentucky Derby]. We may make that decision, whatever is best for the horse. As long as everything stays on schedule, we’ll probably run him one more time. I think a mile and an eighth would be good for him to build up to a mile and a quarter.” 

 

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Older Comments about Hansen Makes a Statement in the Gotham Stakes!...

Of course he was carried wide on the first turn- he broke from the 12 hole. What else would you expect? That he made up the ground and won by 3 lengths was even more impressive. Maker also gets points for the equipment changes- the figure 8 gave Dominguez more control, and removing the blinkers appeared to settle him in.
I hope Hansen wins his next race so he'll take more money in the Derby, giving the horses I'll bet on better odds. I don't like Hansen one bit for the Derby.
Nytodiz, I think you have a very easy decision: http://www.horseracingnation.com/news/Algorithms_Off_Triple_Crown_Trail_123
Well, now I have two horses for the the Kentucky Derby : Algorithms and Hansen. Let see them, in 1 1/8
inner Aqueduct has always been kind to front ender except for a spell two years ago wihen they brought in a new track maintenance team
artistinwax--The AQU inner track has not been a very fast surface this winter.
without the KNOWN capabilities of the other colts facing him at a new distance under a weight 126 lbs he may never see again, it is foolish to even consider how an animal can run against so many ounknown pressures
The Gotham was his first time going two turns, and he handeled it just fine.
Loved Hansen as a 2 year old, love him more now. He will win the Derby.
@artswax, what distances are you trying to compare? You know his last race was at 1 1/16th, if you had compared his previous two at the same distance you would notice that he's been improving in speed even though the last was ran wide, impressive.
The time was extremely slow. I know he was carried wide, but the horses on the inside weren't. They were even slower. A mile in 1:37 is not even close to Triple Crown quality, and 1:44 and change at the finish, is ... well ... not impressive.
Would still like to see him run against some tougher competition & I don't know how tough the Wood will be if Alpha is Florida bound.
He did run well despite the extremely wide first turn. Will be eager to see how he runs at 1 1/8 and longer.
For those that believed he was one-dimensional, he sure proved them wrong. Subtracting the blinkers was definitely the way to go.
Now he has to dodge the Wood Memorial Curse. Good luck!
Just knew Hansen would make all the naysayers eat their words!!! Love this horse, great race, great ride by Ramon. Please, straight to the Derby, no stops along the way.
He looks so beautiful when he is running, a colored mane and tail would distract from his beauty
Hansen was perfection today! Great rebound from the Holy Bull. BUT I never had my doubt and he is getting my money on the first Sat in MAY
He looked great today, and helped make up for some other favorites that didn't quite get there. Wow! He really shifted gears and showed a whole, more mature side of himself, as opposed to his greeness in the Holy Bull. He's a big horse, and also, he doesn't turn 3 biologically until late April. If he's matured this much in a month, can't wait to see what shows up in his next race.
UPDATE: Preliminary BSF = 95

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

 

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