05/02/2012 5:59PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Hansen dodges bullet at post-position draw

Tom Keyser
Hansen just missed drawing the disadvantageous rail post position on Wednesday. Instead, he will break from the far better post 14.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Hansen’s name had yet to be called and there were only two slots left in the starting gate when post positions were assigned late Wednesday afternoon for Saturday’s 138th Kentucky Derby.

There was a big cheer from the Hansen section of the audience when the name Daddy Long Legs was assigned the dreaded rail post, leaving 2011 juvenile champion Hansen to start from No. 14.

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In a case of be careful what you wish for, post 14 hasn’t won the Kentucky Derby since Carry Back in 1961.

Mike Maker, the trainer of Hansen, said he wasn’t nervous about it, but his two owners - Dr. Kendall Hansen and Dr. Harvey Diamond - were.

“I had two doctors to my left and they were shaking like a leaf,” said Maker, referring to Dr. Kendall Hansen and Dr. Harvey Diamond, the co-owners of Hansen. “I said ‘boy, I’m glad they don’t operate on me.’ ”

The rail, which has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner since Ferdinand in 1986, could have been a detriment to Hansen, who might have had to use his speed earlier than necessary to secure a decent position early in the race.

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Instead, the majority of the speed - Bodemeister (post 6) and Trinniberg (post 9) is drawn inside of Hansen. While Hansen won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in gate to wire fashion, he showed in winning the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct that he can win from just off the pace.

“He was going to get away good anyway, but I’m happy to have the speed to our inside and that little extra space by the gate,” said Maker, noting that post 14 is the last spot in the main gate and there is a few feet between him and Gemologist in post 15.

As Maker spoke to the press, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, for whom Maker worked as an assistant, walked past, patted him on the back and said, “You’re the luckiest son of a [gun].”

To which Maker retorted: “I learned from you.”

Hansen vanned over from the Churchill Downs trackside training facility to Churchill on Wednesday. He was to school in the paddock during the fifth race on Thursday, Dr. Hansen said.

Dr. Hansen said he thought all along his horse would draw post 14 and said he felt the anxiety made the process fun for him and his fellow connections.

“The adrenaline kicks are why a lot of us are in this,” Dr. Hansen said. “To have an adrenaline rush when little peas are coming out of a bottle is fun.”

Dr. Hansen, who attempted to paint his colt’s tail blue at the Blue Grass, said he plans to bring little rubber white horses to the track on Saturday.

“I have a pain clinic, I do injections on spines, we have little squeeze toys our patients squeeze,” Hansen said. “We’ve had brown horses for years, we had some white ones made and we’ll try to hit people in the head with them. That’s all we got planned though.”

Hansen was made the 10-1 fifth choice on Mike Battaglia’s track morning line.

“I thing if Mike Maker was doing the odds we’d be 1-1, if I was doing the odds we’d be 3-1,” Dr. Hansen said. “Everybody else will find out why we think that later.”