12/31/2011 3:16PM

Gulfstream Park: Hansen picks up the pace for Holy Bull

Tom Keyser
Hansen is being pointed for the Jan. 29 Holy Bull, a one-mile race at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen turned in his first serious work Saturday since arriving in south Florida, going a half-mile in 48.60 seconds before galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.60 under the cloak of darkness shortly after the Gulfstream Park racetrack opened for training at 5:45 a.m.

Hansen, who capped off a perfect 2-year-old campaign with a gritty head victory over Union Rags in the Juvenile, had barely gotten out of a gallop when he breezed a half-mile in 54 the previous week.

“Last week was just a maintenance move,” said trainer Mike Maker. “This week we let him do a little something. I’ll bring him back and work him five furlongs next Saturday. Right now we’re on target for the Holy Bull.”

The Grade 3, one-mile Holy Bull will be decided on Jan. 29.

Maker said Hansen’s aggressive nature is the reason he trains him so early each morning.

“He’s just too aggressive when he gets around too many other horses out on the racetrack,” said Maker. “He likes to get his job done early, get back to his stall, and take a nap.”

Juvenile one of 4 breakdowns

The rest of the morning didn’t go as well for Maker, who lost a promising 2-year-old, Stevie Jones, when the son of Smarty Jones had to be euthanized after breaking down approaching the wire at the end of a five-furlong workout. Stevie Jones was one of four horses who suffered severe injuries during the course of the morning.

“He was a bad actor at the gate but showed a lot of promise,” Maker said of Stevie Jones. “We were planning on switching him to the turf for his next start.”

Three of the four injured horses here Saturday had to be put down. The others who broke down were unidentified horses trained by Angel Quiroz, Ken McPeek and Rick Dutrow.