Reigning American 2-year-old champion Hansen tuned up for a planned run in the upcoming Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with a strong five-furlong work in :59 4/5 March 31 at Churchill Downs’ Trackside training center.
The Blue Grass, at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack April 14, will be the colt’s final prep for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 5.
Dr. Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing’s 3-year-old son of Tapit had Joel Barrientos in the saddle as he zipped over the fast six-furlong training surface in fractional times of :12 1/5, :23 4/5, :35 4/5, and :47 2/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5, according to clockers.
Hansen had turned in a couple of relatively easy works since he returned to trainer Mike Maker’s base at Trackside after spending most of the winter in Florida. The trainer was looking for something more from the gray/roan colt in the latest move.
“We let him pick it up a little bit,” Maker said. “He’s doing good. He is not stressed at all. It was a pretty solid work and he had a nice gallop-out.”
Hansen’s move was the second fastest of 10 Trackside works at the distance. His Maker-trained stablemate Lotta Lovin, a 3-year-old filly owned by William J. Butler, posted the quickest work at the distance of :59 1/5.
Hansen scored an emphatic three-length victory in his most recent start March 3 in the 1 1/16-mile Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. He has a career record of 4-1-0 in five races and earnings of $1,473,305.