Hansen, last year's champion 2-year-old male, will make his first start since a mid-pack finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) June 30 in Prairie Meadows' Iowa Derby (gr. III). The $250,000 Iowa Derby, part of a stakes-packed weekend at the track just outside Des Moines, will go off at approximately 9:39 CDT.
The Iowa Derby, which will be followed by the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III), will be shown live on TVG.
Hansen, a homebred son of Tapit —Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat, for Dr. Kendall Hansen, is trained by Mike Maker.
Hansen has been cross-entered in Charles Town's $400,000 Red Legend Stakes at seven furlongs the same evening, but Maker said his star colt will ship from his base at the Churchill Downs Training Center to Prairie Meadows June 27. He'll break from the rail and only face four rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Derby.
"It looks like a good, competitive spot to come back in," Maker said. "I would have preferred a better post, but he's handled everything we've thrown at him so far."
Hansen won last year's Eclipse Award based on two runaway wins over Polytrack at Turfway Park and a victory in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). This year he's 1-2-0 in four starts. He ran second to Algorithms in the Gulfstream slop Jan. 29 in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), then bounced back with a three-length tour de force in Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes (gr. III). He prepped for the Kentucky Derby with a second-place finish behind Dullahan in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
In the Run for the Roses Hansen was up on the hot pace set by Bodemeister while in between horses early and still had good position at the top of the stretch before fading in the lane. He finished ninth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths, behind I'll Have Another .
He's had a string of solid works since, firing a bullet 1:00 3/5 for five furlongs June 16 and put in a 1:01 1/5 move June 23. Maker said Hansen will gallop over the Prairie Meadows surface in advance of the Iowa Derby.
Maker has had success in Iowa with shippers, taking last year's Cornhusker with Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Headache, who will be sent out after a repeat try later on the June 30 card.
In handicapping the field, Maker noted the local runner, James Rogers' Black Hawk Stable's Alsvid, as the main danger.
A son of Officer out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Reagle Mary, Alsvid is two-for-two over the Prairie Meadows main track, taking the April 21 Golden Circle Stakes at six furlongs, then stretching out to win the one-mile Prairie Mile Stakes June 2. Chris Hartman trains the freewheeling front-runner.
Finishing 5 1/4 lengths back in second in the Prairie Mile was Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred Truetap. Another son of Tapit, Truetap has one win to his credit at 3, taking an allowance race at Oaklawn Park at the Iowa Derby distance in mid-April. Truetap raced extensively last year over Woodbine's Polytrack layout. In all Truetap has a 2-2-2 slate from 11 starts.
Truetap is trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the Iowa Derby in 2006 with More Than Regal and in 2002 with Easyfromthegitgo.
Rounding out the field is a pair of 3-year-olds from trainer Gennadi Dorochenko: Hero of Order and Macho Bull.
Hero of Order made his mark April 1 with his stunning 109-1 score in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). Since then the son of Sharp Humor has run 13th in the Blue Grass, fifth in an allowance/optional claiming race on the Polytrack at Arlington Park, and most recently eighth in the Arlington Classic on the turf. He will be making his 18th career start in the Iowa Derby.
Macho Bull has a 2-0-5 mark from 10 starts, with a pair of placings at the starter allowance level and a seventh-place effort in the Sea O Erin Stakes on Arlington's turf course June 9 among his recent accomplishments.
The Iowa Derby is missing a colt from trainer Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer has won the Iowa Derby three times: the 2000 renewal with Captain Steve, and the last pair with Concord Point and Prayer for Relief.
Iowa Derby (gr. III), $250,000, Prairie Meadows, June 30, 1 1/16 miles, 3-year-olds (Race 8, 9:39 CDT post)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Wgt., Trainer
1, Hansen, R. Dominguez, 122, M. Maker
2, Alsvid, C. Landeros, 116, C. Hartman
3, Hero of Order, K. Tohill, 122, G. Dorochenko
4, Macho Bull, J. Barton, 113, G. Dorochenko
5, Truetap, J. Leparoux, 116, S. Asmussen