Hansen at Churchill Downs 3/18/2012.

Hansen at Churchill Downs 3/18/2012.

Churchill Downs

Hansen Breezes at Churchill Training Center

Preparing for Wood Memorial, champion posts first work since returning to Kentucky.

Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Hansen breezed an easy half-mile at Churchill Downs’ Trackside Training Center March 18, the first work for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender since his return to Kentucky following a winter spent mostly in Florida.

The nearly white colt is being pointed toward the $1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 7, which will serve as his final prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

Dr. Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing’s 3-year-old son of Tapit  covered the half-mile in :50 2/5 just after the mid-training session break for track maintenance. Despite heavy rain in Louisville overnight, the six-furlong Trackside training course was rated fast for Hansen’s move.

Hansen had the track nearly to himself as he completed the distance under exercise rider Joel Barrientos in fractions of :12, :24 3/5, and :37 3/5. Last year's 2-year-old champion galloped out five furlongs in 1:05 2/5.

Trainer Mike Maker said afterward that he was looking for an easy move for Hansen, a runaway winner of the Gotham at Aqueduct March 3. It was the second race of the year for Hansen, who ran second in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 29.

Maker said Hansen would probably work again March 24, provided the colt comes out of Sunday’s training move well.