A depleted red blood cell count will
keep 2011 juvenile champion Hansen
from making an anticipated start in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Woody
Stephens presented by VisitNassauCounty.com at Belmont Park.
Trainer Mike Maker informed NYRA officials
of the decision on Monday morning, two days after the Grade 1-winning Tapit
colt breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 at the Churchill Downs training facility.
“On him, we routinely do [blood
tests], and when we did it this morning, that’s what we
discovered,” Maker said. “He’s got a little low red blood
cell count, and we didn’t want to risk, with the ship and the race and
everything, to knock him down even further. So, we elected to pass the
Owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai
Racing, Hansen has not run since finishing ninth behind I’ll Have Another
in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. His connections opted to skip the May 19 Preakness
and cut back in distance to point for the Woody Stephens, run at seven furlongs
on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
“It would have been a nice race to
compete in, being a big day and all, but it’s not the end of the
world,” Maker said. “It’s a minor issue, so we’ll get
it handled and get him back in the entries before too long. We’ll monitor
it closely. It’s been my experience that, a lot of times, it’s no
big issue, and with proper treatment he’ll rebound quickly. We’ll
just have to wait and see.”