Updated on 04/12/2012 10:50AM

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

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





ML Odds


Heavy Breathing

T. Pletcher

C. Lanerie



Gung Ho

M. Maker

E. Prado




M. Casse

L. Contreras




M. Maker

R. Dominguez



Russian Greek

G. Dorochenko

M. Mena




D. Romans

K. Desourmeaux




W. Ward

E. Trujillo



Midnight Crooner

B. Baffert

G. Gomez



Holy Candy

J. Sadler

J. Rosario



Howe Great

H. Motion

J. Castellano



Ever So Lucky

J. Sheppard

J. Leparoux



Hero of Order

G. Dorochenko

E. Martin, Jr.




M. Lauer

S. Bridgmohan



edb More than 1 year ago
has a backwheel feel to it, doesn't it.. Horse is sharp and ready to go to the lead. and hopefully will not be trained to change his style. Let him rip so I don't have to rip up my tix. Like Ever So Lucky and Howe Great to finish out tri. Speaking of grays, With Anticipation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most beautiful grey I ever say was Value Plus; I have never been a big fan of white-greys, but that said, Hansen is stunning. Truly. I still prefer true greys, however. I hope Hansen romps in the bluegrass, I think he has little chance to last the distance at CD, and would love to see him favored. Dullahan has always struck me as a true stayer, not sure the CD strip will favor him, will wait and see the works. In fact, I have come to see the CD-works leading up to the race an important indicator. At the right price, Borel seems to have found himself a "now" type horse, bred all day for the trip.
Rick Marciniak More than 1 year ago
Love Hansen...i worry the jocks will try to do the same here like they did to Rags in the fla derby. I think he will go for the lead and will let the others catch him. I know his Gotham run showed a different side, but these other horses are desperate for earnings and Hansen doesn't need to win. Such a tough call. Best of Luck to all who play on Saturday.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Does it look like there may be a pattern of jocks "influencing" the outcome of races???
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Ok... NOW it's Derby Season. Give us a liner Spec.
Matt More than 1 year ago
I think White Lightning can last the mile and eight. 6/5 would be nice but it will be closer to 4/5.
Tom Hua More than 1 year ago
I love Hansen; however, the coming race is the one he is going to lose for some reason. Sorry, folks. Just my gut feeling.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Mebbe a good work??? Trainers' choice.