2012 Kentucky Derby: Hansen Highlights Blue Grass Field with Surprise in Store

Melissa Bauer-Herzog@mbauerherzogCorrespondent IApril 12, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 05:  Hansen (right), riden by Ramon Dominguez, wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile during the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 5, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

When most people think of Hansen, they think of the boy band back in the ‘90s. But for the horse racing world, Hansen is the horse that not only won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year, but also the three-year-old shaking up racing.

In New York, the gray’s owner wanted to dye the horse’s mane and tail blue for the Gotham Stakes; however, the stewards denied the move and the horse came to the paddock with no coloring.

The horse went on to show that he wasn’t a one style pony in the race by rating in second for the first successful time in his career before winning the race by three lengths. But this doesn’t look to be a one race run for Hansen as his owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, said the horse may be put behind horses for the Blue Grass Stakes on April 14.

“I think Ramon is going to want to keep working with Hansen and teaching him the option of tucking in behind horses,” Dr. Hansen said. “And we hope some horses go out there with some speed so that we can do that, because the thing I want to see going into the Kentucky Derby is Ramon have the option of using his internal clock, you know, as he goes around the first turn, and decide is it a quick pace or is it a slow pace. And if it's a slow pace, we'll just go on with it and wire the field, and if he thinks they're going too quickly, then he'll pull back and tuck in and just wait until the quarter pull or three eighths pole.”

But Hansen won’t just work on relaxing during races. A big part of his workouts have also been finishing with company and staying behind them for a while before being allowed to pass.

“I think even on YouTube you can see his last workout from Saturday where he went five furlongs, but the last quarter of a mile, Mike put one of his stakes horses dropped in front of him so he could finish up strong, but follow the horse,” Dr. Hansen said. “And I think he's probably had five or six, maybe seven workouts now in company behind the company relaxing for awhile before he would go ahead and pass them. And he seems to be just fine with that.”

While on the track, Hansen doesn’t look to do anything wild like open up lengths on the field unless something crazy happens; his owner has a “surprise” planned for before the race. It’s almost certain that Hansen won’t come over with a blue mane and tail but his owner has warned that the Blue Grass will have a surprise this year.

“Well, in the paddock at the Blue Grass we got a little bit of a surprise, you know. And if we can't do the horse's tail, maybe—I mean somebody suggested maybe I should wear a blue tail. I'm not that crazy, but we'll do something a little bit eye-opening at the Blue Grass this year, so stay tuned.” Dr. Hansen said.

Hansen is looking to take home the victory in his final race before the Kentucky Derby to pad his No. 1 earnings spot. While the horse has never run on the Keeneland surface, which admittedly plays different than Turfway Park's all weather surface, he did win both his starts there by a combined 25.5 lengths.

Melissa Bauer-Herzog is a featured columnist. All quotes are from an NTRA teleconference the author attended.


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