LEXINGTON, KY (March 22, 2012) – The 88th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 1), scheduled for April 14, received a major boost in horsepower today when it was announced that 2011 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile champion Hansen would use the race as his final prep for the 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).

Description: Description: I:\Gen Office\Communication\Group\Releases\2012\Photos and Graphics\Hansen Breeders Cup small.jpgOwned by Dr. Kendall E. Hansen and Sky Chai Racing, Hansen is trained by Mike Maker, who won this race in 2010 with Stately Victor. Maker came within a nose of winning last year’s Toyota Blue Grass with Twinspired, who also was co-owned by Sky Chai Racing.

The most recent Juvenile champion to race in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes was Street Sense, who finished second in the 2007 renewal before going on to win the Kentucky Derby.

“There are several reasons why we elected to run Hansen in the Toyota Blue Grass,” said Dr. Hansen, who also bred the colt. “Foremost is that the horse will have to travel less and we think that is safer for him. If we win, Hansen will have Grade 1 victories on both all-weather and dirt surfaces. It also allows us to stay home and in familiar surroundings. And, very importantly, since a majority of his fan base is in Kentucky, it gives them a chance to see him run.”

Hansen was undefeated in 2011, capping off a 3-for-3 campaign (including two wins on Polytrack at Turfway Park) with a victory in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs. Hansen finished second in his 2012 debut in the Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park in January and, in his most recent start, won the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct in March.

“We’re extremely pleased to have the 2-year-old champion from last year in the Toyota Blue Grass,” said Rogers Beasley, Vice President of Racing.

Dr. Hansen said regular rider Ramon Dominguez will have the mount in the Toyota Blue Grass.

A total of 180 three-year-olds were nominated to the Toyota Blue Grass. The post position draw will be held Wednesday, April 11, at 11:30 a.m.