Juvenile champion Hansen , a leading contender for the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) following his smashing win in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), is expected to return to Aqueduct for the $1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 7.
Hansen was resting comfortably in his stall at Aqueduct the morning after his three-length triumph March 3. He is scheduled to depart March 5 by van for Turfway Park, where he will prepare for a likely return to New York next month.
Immediately following the Gotham, Dr. Kendall Hansen, the horse's breeder and co-owner along with Harvey Diamond, also mentioned the possibility of remaining in Kentucky for Turfway's $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 24.
Trainer Mike Maker told Daily Racing Form that the Wood "makes more sense" from a timing perspective.
“That was one of the main reasons for going to the Gotham,” Maker told DRF shortly after arriving in Kentucky on the afternoon of March 4. “That was our plan. I think we’ll be on the same page for the Wood.”
The nearly all-white colt emerged from the 1 1/16-mile Gotham in good order, said Maker’s assistant, Nelson Donis.
“He came back good, ate everything up, and is good today,” said Donis. Hansen is currently the third choice behind “all others” and Union Rags in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Running without blinkers for the first time in the Gotham, Hansen demonstrated an ability to rate. He came from off the pace for the first time in his career and swept to an easy victory over a large but undistinguished field. He was also outfitted with a new bit for the race.
“That’s my job,” said Maker after the race of the changes he made. “Hopefully we can keep it figured out the next couple of months.”
Along with Hansen, Gotham runner-up My Adonis is targeting the 1 1/8-mile Wood as his final steppingstone to the May 5 Derby.