Hansen Works for Travers Stakes
Hansen, the juvenile champion of 2011, worked five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 the morning of Aug. 18 at Trackside Training Center in Louisville in preparation for a start in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
"He worked pretty good; everything is on schedule," said trainer Michael Maker in reference to the Aug. 25 Travers. "He's going to fly up Monday (Aug. 20)."
Hansen is expected to be one of the principal pacesetters in the 1 1/4-mile Travers. The gray or roan son of Tapit won the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) this year at Aqueduct Racetrack, finished second on the Polytrack in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, and won the Iowa Derby (gr. III) by 10 lengths. In his most recent start, Hansen raced under heavy pressure in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) and finished fourth.
"I texted with (Maker), and he said the horse went very well and is very happy," said owner Dr. Kendall Hansen when reached by telephone Aug. 18. "He ran recently, so it's just a maintenance work. I'm glad the long-term weather looks like moderate temperatures because his two worst races were in the heat."
Three-time Travers-winning jockey Javier Castellano picks up the mount on Hansen, who Maker said would gallop again Aug. 21 or 22.
Dr. Hansen said he would likely arrive in Saratoga the day before the race.
Meanwhile at Saratoga, Susan Magnier's Turbulent Descent completed her final preparations for the Aug. 24 Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) with a swift four-furlong move over the Saratoga main track. Last year's Test Stakes (gr. I) winner covered the distance in :47.91 seconds.
"She seems like she's sitting on go," trainer Todd Pletcher said of the 4-year-old daughter of Congrats .
The Ballerina will be Turbulent Descent's first start for Pletcher. She previously was trained by Mike Puype for Blinkers On Racing Stable, and under his care won three grade I races, including the Test. The filly has made just one start this year, winning the Desert Stormer Handicap on June 17 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Pletcher added that the three horses he has nominated for the upcoming Personal Ensign Invitational (gr. I)—Green Hills Farm's Love and Pride, M.V. Deegan's Maristar, and E. Paul Robsham Stables' R Gypsy Gold—would breeze Aug. 20 before a decision will be made about which will start in the Aug. 26 race.
Multiple grade I winner It's Tricky also breezed Aug. 18, turning in her final work for the $600,000 Personal Ensign at Greentree Training Center. Encouraged through the stretch by exercise rider Renzo Morales, It's Tricky went a half-mile in :46.77 over the Tapeta surface in company with an unraced 3-year-old filly named Villanesca.
"We're done," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said after clocking the Godolphin Racing representative. "We'll gallop on to the race."
It's Tricky, undefeated thus far in 2012, most recently won the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) on May 28 at Belmont Park. Always swift, It's Tricky also has a reputation for living up to her name. Though her personality quirks have ebbed somewhat as she has matured, McLaughlin recognizes the Mineshaft filly can still be wily.
"She always works pretty fast, but if you don't ask her a little bit she might stop and turn around," he joked. "That was nice. We're there, now."
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