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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Hansen is vulnerable in the Holy Bull

Hansen, ridden by jockey Victor Lebron and trained by Michael Maker beat favorite Union Rags , ridden by jockey Javier Castellano in a photo finish in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on November 5, 2011..
Photo: mdracing69
He is undefeated and in fact has never even been headed during one stride in his career. He won far and away the most important race a two-year-old male could win. He was recently named champion as America’s best juvenile of 2011 and reports from the Michael Maker barn have been nothing but positive all winter. So knowing all these things, why is it that I think Hansen will likely go down to defeat in tomorrow’s $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes?
 
The one-mile, grade 3 test begins Gulfstream Park’s road to the roses in earnest … the key word being “begins.” Nothing more than a prep, and the first one at that, the Holy Bull is no more than a means to an ends for many horses. If Hansen is to make his way to the Kentucky Derby as one of the horses to beat, the result of tomorrow’s race, or at least whether he finishes first or not, will matter little in the grand scheme of things. He is already a proven commodity, who only needs to move in the right direction tomorrow. Meanwhile, there are others in the race that need to not only prove they belong in elite company, but also need to start collecting graded stakes earnings just to qualify for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
 
{Check out the top Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders} 
 
Look no further than red-hot young sire Bernardini for the answer as to which horse will pull the upset on Hansen. Or perhaps I should say answers. Two impressive looking and lightly raced sons of Bernardini are the main reason I am picking against the champ.
 
Owned by Starlight Racing and trained by Todd Pletcher, Algorithms has won both of his two starts in style, taking his debut at Belmont Park by 5 ¼ lengths back in June, before scoring a sharp 1 length allowance score going 6 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream last month. Leading meet rider Javier Castellano will ride, and with the promise of plenty of early speed in the race, he should sit a nice stalking trip from his outside post position.
 
Sitting in not quite as favorable a post position is the other Bernardini, Consortium. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was also in that fast allowance heat won by Algorithms, finishing a game second, despite pressuring a very fast pace, as the 4-5 favorite.  The Darley homebred comes in to the Holy Bull off consecutive sharp performances. He turned many a head in November when he scored in his debut by 4 ¾ lengths at Aqueduct. Of note, Consortium will race with Lasix for the first time tomorrow. 
 
So, while Hansen will be making his first start since his tough win in the two-turn Breeders’ Cup Juvenile nearly three months ago, he will have to tackle two very talented colts with a good race over the track, and who are primed to be sharp for tomorrow’s one-turn mile. Even if he can carry over his excellence as a juvenile to this season, (not all juvenile champions, or offspring of Tapit do… see Stardom Bound) it is not a race he needs to win. 
 
The Holy Bull would seem like the perfect recipe for an upset. But then again, what do I know? I picked Union Rags in the Breeders’ Cup.

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Hansen is vulnerable in the Holy Bull...

onlt one in here who raced even close to the pace Hansen did in his last two outings is For Loudon
Could be??????
Replace Castellano with Johnny V. on Algorithms and you have an almost sure bet to beat Hansen. I would like to see Hansen remain undefeated, but I do like the look of Algorithms.
I like Hansen but I don't like the weight he's carrying! (6 LBS more than Algorithms & Consortium) Good Luck Hansen!
I just wonder if there is any way to rate or contain Hansen? 8 furlongs seems fine for this colt who just runs with a natural rampped up style. So why not just let him run? It would probably just hinder him more then help trying to contain him. His workouts are 4-5 furlongs, so it doesn't seem like the trainer cares if Hansen runs out of gas. My question will he?
I dont think Hansen will handle it well.. he got lucky in the BC. rags was closeing fast as well as CC catching.. 2 more strides and he would of lost it.
2,6,1,4 I picked Consortium due to the NY win, the very decent second to Algorithms, his workouts, and sadly, the addition of Lasix for this race.
It's any horse's race, with Algorithms proving his breeding as a miler and Hansen defending his title he has already earned. Consortium should be able to go the distance too, and if they catch Hansen on the turn home he may not be able to find more.
I like My Adonis for an upset...he's a "developing" talent, with a clunker in the Delta Jackpot, but he should be able to get down to business and decide if he's a contender or not. Like his sire, Pleasantly Perfect, whose progeny have gotten some recognition with Rapid Redux, Zazu, just retired
  • annmatt · cont'd....just retired Shared Account. He had a nice win in the Delta Jackpot prep, but failed to fire in the Jackpot. Still, I'm thinking he may be due for a big race to get him on the Derby Trail. Or not! We'll see! · 968 days ago
It could be a tough weekend at Gulfstream Park for several favorites!
I don't think Hansen has any chance of losing in the Holy Bull, we shall see...

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.