03/04/2012 11:19AM

Hansen, Big Cap, and Other Quick Saturday Impressions


Thoughts after a busy Saturday:

I know he didn’t beat much, but I liked Hansen’s victory in the Gotham quite a bit. Racing without blinkers Saturday for the first time, Hansen was a very different race horse. Instead of running off to a clear early lead as he had done in his first four starts, he seemed perfectly content to concede the front end. Hansen was sixth under the wire the first time, and after breaking from post 12, that translated to him getting caught four wide early on the first turn. And without blinkers, Hansen lugged in in upper stretch, and with the win well in hand, he seemed to loaf a bit. I’m not saying Hansen will win the Kentucky Derby, although he might because his talent has never been the question. What I am saying is, a Hansen who can relax early like the one we saw in the Gotham has a much better chance of winning the Derby than the Hansen we knew before.

Wish I could be as complimentary about the Big Cap, but I just can’t. About the best thing I can say about it is it is certainly clear now that trainer Bill Mott figured out Ron the Greek’s hole card after he took over as his trainer last summer. But Ron the Greek made a sustained run for just about the length of the Santa Anita backstretch in the Big Cap, was put into an all out drive midway on the far turn when still racing about sixth, and yet still drew away in the final furlong to score by 3 ½ lengths. Of course, you can do that when the last quarter is run in – wait for it, because we all did – 26.27 seconds.

I’m not going to get down on Reneesgotzip even if she was soundly beaten by Eden’s Moon in the Las Virgenes. In her first route attempt, Reneesgotzip really blew the first turn, going about six wide early. And it does appear she was struck across the face by the whip of Eden’s Moon’s rider in upper stretch, which is an actionable foul even if you think it didn’t affect the outcome of the race. But if Reneesgotzip were mine, she’d be staying in one turn races for now. And while on the subject of the Las Virgenes, what about the fillies with the good 2-year-old form, Charm the Maker and Killer Graces? Last and next to last.

It’s Tricky got the job done at just under 2-5 in the Top Flight, but she seemed very rusty.

Pants On Fire was very good winning that hot allowance race at Gulfstream. Dialed In was not good finishing a dull fourth, which raises the question if he is the same horse after the knee surgery.

I thought Mr. Commons had turned into a monster. But it is obvious he is still shy of that, at least for the moment, after having no excuse not to beat the recent claimer Willyconker in the Kilroe Mile. It seems Mr. Commons still has a touch of hang in him.

A while ago, I decided I was no longer going to fall hard for horses like Emcee in the Tom Fool like I had all my life. Emcee went into the Tom Fool off a strong first out win at Belmont last September, and an entry level allowance romp at Gulfstream early last month, in which he was assigned a 107 Beyer. For all that promise but limited actual accomplishment, Emcee was the 6-5 Tom Fool favorite against a near champion in Caleb’s Posse and a seasoned multiple stakes winner, and noted inner track lover, Calibrachoa. Emcee is a good horse, and might yet prove to be an important stakes performer, but he was only third best Saturday. Calibrachoa’s Tom Fool win was all about getting first run. But Caleb’s Posse was a rapidly gaining and narrowly beaten second. And the whole world now knows with some certainty that it will take something very special to beat Caleb’s Posse when he runs back in the Carter and Metropolitan at seven and eight furlong distances at which he is most effective.

Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
Hello again Mike. I need to make a salient point here, why do connections with top horses on the derby trail insist on jockeying for services of J. Castalleno, Ramon Dominguez and Julien Leparoux when these guys have more or less made up their minds about which direction they are heading. Then you have hall of famers Kent D, Mike S, Edgar P, JR V,David F, Allan G,Garreth G, Calvin B and the list goes on. If i owned the other leading contenders i would obviously put them (jockeys) on my horse so as or them to get acquainted for the biggest day in racing. Your thoughts please.
Jim More than 1 year ago
Hansen's win was similar to the effort in the Wood from Foolish Pleasure in 1975. I cannot dismiss his Derby chances.
gregory dunn More than 1 year ago
Anybody notice a horse named Al Aqsa who was entered and ran for Shadwell Saturday at the Big A.? Just Google the name and see what you come up with. How did that ever get past the Jockey Club?
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
Lets be realistic, Hansen is not going 1 1/4m. Secondly, he beay My Adonis, who he had beat in the Holy Bull. I give him credit for being able to relax. Lastly, how good was Algorithms? I think Union Rags is lucky he scratched, he definitely would've had a competitor last week.
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Realistic? How good was Algorithms? He was yet another Todd Pletcher shooting star destined to burn out before the derby. Union Rags is the real deal. Don't be fooled because Javier Castellano chose to ride Algorithms, that was business. He's just started getting the lions share of first calls on Pletchers horses.
YO*ELB More than 1 year ago
Hansen's dosage index is 3.50. While alot of winning derby horses numbers are well under 3.00, there have been some horses that won the derby with higher dosages. Super Saver 3.00, Mine That Bird 5.40, Giacomo 4.33, Smarty Jones 3.40, War Emblem 3.40, Fusiachi Pegasus 3.67, Charasmatic 5.22, Real Quiet 5.29, Thunder Gulch 4.00, Strike The Gold 3.00, Winning Colors 3.50, Alysheba 3.80, Spectacular Bid 4.00, Foolish Pleasure 3.70, Secretariat 3.00.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
MW: I was a bit surprised by Hansen's outstanding performance and do now feel that he should be considered one of the top KD contenders if stays healthy and continues as such...What I am surprised about also is your lack of comment or acknowledgement for "MY ADONIS" performance (who I had as my top choice Sat), it was excellent and gutsy and deserves "favor" he was and is a contender as well as per above. Like you neglect to recognize "Gemologist" as a top KD, this race should encourage you to keep on watching his works and if he performs to notch in Rebel or his next race, I predict you will be writing about him with a peace of humble pie, if not, pass the pie to me......although it would not be on the house.....I don;'t get paid for my horse knowledge, but I enjoy sharing it to the wiser ones as appropriate..."every good boy or horse deserves favour".....Don
Adam Wachtel More than 1 year ago
Big Cap. I'll preface my comments by stating that I'm one of the owners of Ron the Greek. From the chart, I do see that the final 1/4 mile was run in :26.27. But also according to the chart, Ron was about 4 1/4 lengths back after one mile. So, he would have come home the final 1/4 in approximately :25 unless my math/logic is flawed. I'd say that's finishing pretty strong. And, let's not forget he was wide around that final turn. Clearly, he was a man amongst boys in this race on this particular day. He came home easily in a good time without even being extended. The 105 Beyer assigned to the race is certainly nothing to sneeze at. I think the race and the way he finished were very impressive. Knock the others if you want, but don't take away from Ron his very big effort.
Jordan Miller More than 1 year ago
You are correct about Ron running his own personal final quarter in 25 and change. That's certainly not shabby. Of course, he benefitted from being well off that first half. The most impressive part of Ron's performance is his 3rd quarter. According to the chart, when Ron made that move right up to Setsuko, he ran the 3rd quarter in 22 and change. That's a remarkable internal quarter. From there, he was able to go his next quarter in about 24, and then that 25 and change final quarter. Clearly, Team Beyer was more impressed than Mike or I was after initial viewing.
Jordan Miller More than 1 year ago
And as a fan here in Southern California who attended the Big Cap', I want to thank you and the rest of Team Ron for shipping the horse out for the race. As weak as many think the Big Cap was, post facto, and as weak as many think the Cali older horses to be, you were the only one to ship. Hindsight makes it all clear, but Team Ron, and Team Ron alone, had the courage to ship To the bold go the spoils.
Todd Saunders More than 1 year ago
congrats on the great win Adam. been meaning to get in touch, but when i saw this post, i figured it was as good a place as any. thought his prep in florida was absolutely perfect, and set him up for the big cap just right. in the end, you got the money, and he ran great to do so. do not discount shipping and winning from behind over a track that is hard to close on generally. race did sort of fall apart, but he made up a lot of ground, and made 2 moves in the race. it was a great effort, and the win over the track is perfect for down the road. keep in touch and continued good luck with him and others todd
YO*ELB More than 1 year ago
I watched this replay about 10 times and if that incident had not happened, Renee would have won. You can clearly see Renee was starting to go by Eden when that happened. Renee is truly an outstanding filly and will be a serious contender for the Oaks.
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
renee has ZERO shot in oaks...i gtee she wont even go to churchill and would run close to last...at a 1 1/8th
YO*ELB More than 1 year ago
Funny, I heard that same thing about 'Mine That Bird' back in '09
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
100% agree with you
Mick More than 1 year ago
Hansen looked amazing, that performance made my heart smile. I knew he had it in him, and was so proud of him for rating. I just love that boy. the only negative out of that race for me was the 30-1 in the future pools we were getting before the race went all the way down to 9-1 by the time they closed. Oh well, still got him at 27-1 from Pool 1. Lol at the - because we all had to - regarding the Big Cap. Well I'm not surprised at the last quarter mile, considering they went 44 2/5 for the half going 1 1/4 miles. The final time was still not bad for the distance. Didn't hurt I liked Mott's horse in there too. Reneesgotzip was the root of her own problems. She shifted in and came in very close quarters with Eden's hind end. Plus the bolting on the first turn showed how Eden's mile experience maiden came in handy contrasted to Renee's first try around two turns IMO It's Tricky was expected. I was hoping Dialed In would do better, he looked a bit tired, hopefully this shook off the rust. Mr. Commons didn't seem to have his usual kick, he kicked but not big enough Caleb I think should win the Carter and Metropolitan easily barring some extreme unforeseen circumstance. He looked spectacular sown the lane yesterday but simply ran out of ground. And then of course that bizarre no contest in race 3 at Santa Anita, never seen that before, or anything like it.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Reneesgotzip did appear to get hit in the face by the whip of Eden Moon's jock; but it occurred after Reneesgotzip bumped Eden's Moon. I suggest that is why the objection was disallowed. One could argue that if Eden's Moon had not been bumped that the whip would not have hit Reneesgotzip in the face.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
right on all fronts,still is the other horses derby to lose