Dr. Kendall Hansen, majority owner of 2011 2-year-old champion Hansen, winner of the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), said the son of Tapit will target the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 25, with prep races scheduled in either the Iowa Derby (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows or Red Legend Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town and then the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort. Dr. Hansen said the Iowa Derby is the more likely of the two races.
Hansen, who captured the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and was second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) this year, hasn't run since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The flamboyant and innovative Dr. Hansen said he has kept a low-profile recently and will let Hansen do most of the talking the rest of the year, as he attempts to get back into the 3-year-old Eclipse picture. But he will remain the colt's number one spokesman.
"I have removed myself from the limelight long enough, now that the spring classics are over," he said. "It was such a privilege that Hansen got the 2-year-old-champion's attention all winter and spring. There has been a lot of press over the past six months. I have no idea how many interviews I did. I noticed at the end a few haters were coming out, and that was understandable. Heck I would have got a bit tired of me as well. So I took a break from it all. I will try to keep myself in small doses and Hansen the horse as available as possible to all the people that want him.
"We will enter June 30 for both the Iowa Derby and Red Legend and see how each looks, but it's 95% it will be Iowa and my sibs and I already have reservations. Even though the Iowa Derby is less purse money, it is the best distance so far for Hansen who is three for three at a mile and sixteenth. The only 3-year-old I would have reservations running against at this distance is Bodemeister . In my opinion, he is the best 3-year-old running now. The ultimate goal is the Travers Stakes and to take on the best in the 3-year-old division again. Before finalizing that trip we want Hansen to impress us with a big effort in the West Virginia Derby. I am excited about that one, as it is a $1 million race to us, being a grade I winner."
Hansen had been scheduled to drop back in a sprint in the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II), but was withdrawn due to a low red blood cell count.
"It may have been a blessing not to be able to run, as a race that fast could have made Hansen rank and moved him in the opposite direction we want to go," Dr. Hansen said.
"He has never been so relaxed on the track as he is now, at the race track. So we've rethought our strategy and are going to concentrate on 1 1/8 and 1 1/4-mile races. I think from a mental aspect, he got a lot out of the Kentucky Derby.
"Many are excited to see if on August 25 Union Rags or Bodemeister can give I'll Have Another a run at the 3-year-old-championship. Like last year, I would like to sneak up on Union Rags and spoil his party. He is a great adversary, I am glad he won the Belmont."