Updated on 04/12/2012 9:50AM

Blue Grass: Hansen gets post 4 in field of 13 at Keeneland

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hansen will have Ramon Dominguez up in the Blue Grass Stakes, his final Kentucky Derby prep.

Hansen was assigned post 4 as a heavy favorite in the biggest field in years for the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes, which will be run Saturday for the 88th time at Keeneland.

Thirteen 3-year-olds were entered in the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race, the most since 14 went postward in 1974. Hansen, the nearly white colt who was the 2-year-old champion of 2011, will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez in his final prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

Hansen is coming off a three-length victory in the March 3 Gotham Stakes and has his owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, trying to calm his own nerves.

“I’m trying to enjoy the fun,” he said. “Hopefully the party starts Saturday.”

Hansen, 4 for 5 lifetime, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in trying to become the first juvenile champion to win the Blue Grass since Rockhill Native in 1980. The speedy colt surely will part of the early pace, possibly along with Midnight Crooner, Holy Candy, Howe Great, Hero of Order, and Scatman, all of whom drew farther outside.

Howe Great, the co-second choice at 6-1 with Dullahan, risks a four-race win streak for Team Valor International and trainer Graham Motion, the same connections that won the Derby last year with Animal Kingdom. Howe Great has shown big speed while racing primarily on turf.

“He doesn’t have to have the lead,” said Team Valor president Barry Irwin.

Scatman, one of a handful of mid-range longshots at 12-1, got the far outside post and will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.

“There’s a lot of gas in there, so we’ll probably just let them go and hopefully tuck in behind,” said trainer Mike Lauer.

The Blue Grass will be televised along with the Arkansas Derby on the CNBC cable network on a one-hour telecast that begins at 6 p.m. Eastern, with the Blue Grass going at 6:18. Twelve races are carded for Saturday at Keeneland for the first time in track history, with the Blue Grass the 11th. The Grade 1 Jenny Wiley and Grade 2 Commonwealth also are on the program, which starts at 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

Sultry weather, with temperatures reaching the 80s, is in the forecast.

The last Derby winner to race in the Blue Grass was Street Sense, beaten a nose here in the 2007 running. The last horse to win both races was Strike the Gold in 1991.

[BLUE GRASS: Get PPs and wager on Saturday's Keeneland card]

Toyota Blue Grass S. (G1), Post Time: 6:18 ET Saturday

Purse: $750,000; 1 1/8 miles

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Heavy Breathing

T. Pletcher

C. Lanerie

12-1

1

Gung Ho

M. Maker

E. Prado

30-1

1

Prospective

M. Casse

L. Contreras

10-1

1

Hansen

M. Maker

R. Dominguez

6-5

1

Russian Greek

G. Dorochenko

M. Mena

50-1

1

Dullahan

D. Romans

K. Desourmeaux

6-1

1

Politicallycorrect

W. Ward

E. Trujillo

30-1

1

Midnight Crooner

B. Baffert

G. Gomez

15-1

1

Holy Candy

J. Sadler

J. Rosario

30-1

1

Howe Great

H. Motion

J. Castellano

6-1

1

Ever So Lucky

J. Sheppard

J. Leparoux

12-1

1

Hero of Order

G. Dorochenko

E. Martin, Jr.

12-1

1

Scatman

M. Lauer

S. Bridgmohan

12-1