Sunday, March 04, 2012
HANSEN SHOWS NEW DIMENSION IN DOMINANT GOTHAM VICTORY
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Rebounding from his only defeat, juvenile champion Hansen came from off the pace for the first time in his career and posted a decisive three-length victory in Saturday’s 60th running of the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack to reaffirm his status as one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby.
Leaving from post position 12, the near-white son of Tapit was hung out four wide going round the first turn as King and Crusader emerged to tow the field of 13 through an opening quarter-mile in 23.68 seconds. Settling comfortably off the pacesetter on the backside as the half went in 47.51 and three-quarters in 1:11.79, Hansen moved up three-wide to challenge for the lead on the turn, easily taking over once into the stretch and drawing clear for the decision over My Adonis.
Hansen, who was running without blinkers for the first time, completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.84 over an inner track rated “good” for his fourth victory in five starts. His only loss came in his 3-year-old debut, the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on January 29.
“He really took the step forward as far as maturing,” said Dominguez, who had four winners on the Big A’s 11-race card. “He actually did it better than I expected – he was so relaxed. Coming to the three-eighths pole when he switched to his left lead and I got after him, he went on beautiful. He really did it as nice as I could expect. I was hoping that he could take the step forward, mind-wise, but he really took it further than I expected. Awesome. Galloped out like a freight train, too.”
Sent off as the 4-5 favorite by the crowd of 8,244, Hansen returned $3.60 for a $2 win bet as he added the Gotham to stakes victories in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. With the winner’s purse of $240,000, he has now earned $1,473,305, tops among Derby-eligible 3-year-olds.
Hansen and runner-up My Adonis are both expected to return for Aqueduct’s Grade 1, $1 million Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial on April 7, New York’s premier prep for the May 5 Derby.
“[The Wood has] a lot of history, and it’d be a real thrill to have a chance to win that,” said Dr. Hansen. “We don’t have to run again [before the Kentucky Derby]. We may make that decision, whatever is best for the horse. As long as everything stays on schedule, we’ll probably run him one more time. I think a mile and an eighth would be good for him to build up to a mile and a quarter.”
Finishing third, six lengths behind My Adonis, was 25-1 shot Finnegans Wake. Completing the order of finish were Tiger Walk, Pretension, Stealcase, Raconteur, King and Crusader, Side Road, Done Talking, Dan and Sheila, Suns Out Guns Out, and Maan.
Read more articles in the Aqueduct category.