Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Now it’s Hansen’s turn in the West Virginia Derby

The favorites did what they were supposed to do in the weekend’s big races for three-year-males. First Alpha showed a new dimension by hustling right out to the front in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes, before easily holding an early in the stretch challenge from Neck ‘n Neck at bay to win by two lengths in the Saratoga slop. Then one day later, Paynter did what any self-respecting Bob Baffert charge is supposed to do at the Jersey Shore … he won the million dollar Haskell Invitational. The much more impressive of the two, Paynter rolled home in the grade 1 affair by nearly four lengths to stamp himself as the clear favorite for next month’s Travers. But wait a minute, It feels like we are forgetting about someone. What about Hansen?
The 2011 Champion 2-year-old was nowhere to be seen on the big Haskell-Jim Dandy weekend, waiting instead for a date at Mountaineer Racetrack for the $750,000 West Virginia Derby. Does this mean fun-loving owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen feared that his great white hope could not handle the heat emanating from the Monmouth and Saratoga kitchens? Hell no, says Doc Hansen. Here is most of what he had to say about the subject a few days ago on Horse Racing Nation…
”Our goal is to reestablish Hansen as the top of his crop in training. We chose the Travers (Grade 1) to beat the best of the best because everyone will be there. I look forward to running against Bodemeister, Paynter, Dullahan, Alpha, Teeth of the Dog, Neck and Neck, etc., that is the most important 3 year old race left this year and my trainer says it may compromise our chances to run 2 tough races back to back. I also want my horse to remain sound, which seems to be a problem for many this year. Hansen beat the best of the best last year and we ran in the Blue Grass and Kentucky Derby, ...how is that ducking? It is not smart to run the horse you love into the ground. Sorry we are not in the Haskell, as a fan I understand and would love to see Hansen break on top of Paynter and hold off Dullahan. Wait until Saratoga. Patience!!”
While Hansen should be heavily favored, keep in mind that the West Virginia Derby will not be without some legitimate competition, as the horse that defeated Haskell 2nd, Nonios, and Jim Dandy 3rd, Liaison, in the Swaps Stakes last time, Blueskiesnrainbows, is expected to be in the field on Saturday. The fact that he is also a front-runner, like Hansen, could also make the champ’s task just a little bit tougher at Mountaineer. Dr. Hansen had this to add after the Haskell …
“The running of the Haskell Invitaional flatters Blueskiesnrainbows as Nonois ran very well. He is the main competition for Hansen if he comes to West Virigina. We will let Hansen do what he does best ...run free in front. My initial thinking is to discuss with Mike Smith the plan not to let Blueskies get in front of Hansen unless he is running fractions too fast.”
So fresh with new rider Mike Smith in the saddle, Hansen will attempt to take the overland route to Saratoga Springs with preps in the Iowa and West Virginia Derbies. The Iowa Derby certainly was no contest as Hansen treated his four overmatched foes with complete disrespect in going wire-to-wire and romping by ten lengths. Can he do something similar on Saturday? And if so, does it mean that this free-wheeling talent has the right stuff to stop the Paynter Express and all the rest in the Midsummer Derby?


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Older Comments about Now it’s Hansen’s turn in the West Virginia Derby...

One dimension horses are easy prey to rabbits...unless they are so superior thta they run away from all of them
EARLY speed horses NEED NOT be need to leads. This one showed that when necessary (cheap speed that will assuredly back up), you could rate him outside the pace setters and simply press. POSTION is not VELOCITY.....The true need to lead HAS to be out front every time. This one doesn't. Riders should study the probabilities of the others in the race BEFORE they get in the
@tv, so do you think it does any good to try to rate a front runner like Hansen? It seems like it would be better just to let him get a large lead and hope no one catches him...
get Ramon back if you want to see this one rated to any extent.
@Shackisback, why are you so mean? If Shack has a bad race, we don't say Bahahahahahaha!
The Travers?....Bahahahahahahahaha
For the person in Boston - check the listings for Fox Sports (Boston or New England - whatever they call it out there) just in case. Here they will be showing it on Fox Sports Detroit (where they usually show the Red Wings and Tigers) rather than the regular Fox channel.
I didn't take anything you said personally. How could I? None of it was directed at me. But are you saying that we shouldn't believe anything you say? That doesn't do much for your credibility. When you say that European horses are overrated we should just think "oh he doesn't mean that" & not comment? Under your criteria noone should respond to ANY comment.
I'd hope so. No one should take anything a stranger on a message board says personally.
Maybe should be but often isn't. Anyway, I'm joking too. I like to give people a hard time.
Loran53, I am joking around. This is a horse racing website, everything people say on here should be taken with a grain of salt.
Hansen should eat this field alive after l the defections of what looked his top competition.
"Stupid Boston, stupid NYRA, stupid NE." No offense IHATC, but little kids talk like that! Adults don't speak that way. I can't believe you're a social studies teacher. I wouldn't want you teaching MY kids.
nope, we get a repeat of Grey's Anatomy on Fox boston
its on fox, 545 pm est? ugh probably not in new england. stupid NE
Bunny3- Something happend to Dullahan that day, he pulled Dullahan up. Also, that was 1 race. He only lost 3 and meanwhile won 5. Maybe he should paint his tail blue. It's fun and draws attention everyone is gonna see his blue tail takin the lead (Unless something bad happens). He has hardly any competition
My wife asks the same thing all the time.
What are you talking about Zipse??.. Blue skies would leave Hansen at 10f, and 9f. Dr.Hansen is nothing more then a circus act, and instead of dodging better fields for big paycheques, how about he runs vs the best in the division instead of ALLOWANCE HORSES. HANSEN IS A GLORIFIED GR3 Horse, who had ONE day in the sun at Churchill last november.
DRF.com will also be streaming it
supposedly they are showing the race live on the Fox network.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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