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Hansen looks headed to West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer
By Marty McGee
Hansen most likely will bypass the Haskell Invitational in favor of the West Virginia Derby, trainer Mike Maker said Tuesday after Hansen worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 at his home base, the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky.
Trainer Mike Maker, speaking from Saratoga, said he believes the West Virginia Derby, set for Aug. 4 at Mountaineer Park, is shaping up an easier spot than the Haskell, which will be run Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Both the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell and the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby are run at 1 1/8 miles. Although their total purses differ, the winner’s share for Hansen would be virtually the same because the West Virginia Derby awards a $150,000 bonus if the winner already has won a Grade 1 race, which Hansen did last year in taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile en route to being voted 2-year-old champion. That means both races would be worth roughly $600,000 to his connections in case of a victory.
“Obviously there’s a lot of money involved there,” said Maker.
Maker added that Kendall Hansen, majority owner in the colt, had not yet “completely” agreed to running at Mountaineer but that he was relatively sure “that’s the way we’re going.”
Entries for the Haskell will be taken Thursday. Paynter and Dullahan are the likely favorites, with other possible starters including Nonios and Stealcase.
Maker said that Hansen, an easy winner of the June 30 Iowa Derby in his last start, will breeze again next Tuesday at Trackside, then ship to Mountaineer the day before the race.
Who knows about the Travers. If he and Bodemeister ran against each other it would make no sense cause both would lose. If Paynter and Dullahan are the only horses Hansen has to beat i would give him a decent chance. Both are unimpressive.
After Hansen wins the WVA Derby and then gets trounced in the Travers, it would be cool if they pointed him toward the BC Mile.
Aug. 4, at Mountaineer Park's W. Va. Derby will have a record crowd on hand to watch Hansen ( The Great White Hope with Mike Smith in the Irons) What a day for the track, the fans and for racing. Hansen and his connections will be treated like royality by the gracious and friendly hosts at Mountaineer. It will be a day of fun, joy and great racing. Enjoy and may the racing gods shine on Hansen and his conections. Those who don't like it need to mind your own business and buy a horse of your own.
Finally, an owner who gets truelly involved. I have to admit that last year after Union Rags lost the juvenile to Hansen, I believed it was a fluke. But after watching Hansen this year i see a colt with tremendous talent. And reading the comments below by Dr. Hansen himself, I think that they are doing the right thing by this colt. By taking a somewhat easier route to The Travers, Hansen will build his confidence level, his bank roll, and be a fresher horse in Saratoga for The Travers. I have never been one to like over-running a horse or rather over-exurting a horse when it is not necessary. Still not sure he can get the distance in The Travers and honestly, think Teeth of The Dog will be toughest, but I respect and applaud the preparations they are making to get Hansen prepared.
i bet bode is gonna be entered in wv then everyone will stop saying team hansen is ducking, mtn is super speed favoring quite frankly hansen, mitchell would be dumb to go anywhere else, o yea its alot closer too
I am not surprised that Dr. Hansen did not answer my comments. Just another money man hiding behind his $$$$$$$$$
Kendall, Rumor has it that there is going to be a jockey switch, is this true? I heard Mike Smith?
Good luck Mr Hansen!!
No disrespect to Kendall Hansen, but this is the flip side of the coin. Quoting trainer and owner Gemologist, who switched from Jim Dandy to Haskell: “Paynter’s a nice horse, we think we got a pretty good one, too,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Gemologist for WinStar Farm. “The Jim Dandy is a very, very nice race, but the Haskell is one of the top races for 3-year-olds,” said Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm. “It’s still a marquee race for the summer. He deserves a chance.”
There should be a distinction between Grade I Two Year Old events and races for Colts and Fillies Three Years and Older. What Mountaineer has done with their 'Bonus' is to try to pump up the 'prestige' of their race by using the term Gr I in their advertising. Grade I Wins at the Baby level should stay there. I am reminded of the time when the owner of the Winner of The Matchmaker tried to get the stud fee included in the Mares' lifetime earnings. That didn't fly and neither should this.
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