03/24/2012 11:19AM

Hansen works easy five furlongs at training center

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hansen needed more time than usual to recover from his winning effort in the Gotham.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hansen, last year’s champion juvenile, breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs Trackside Saturday in preparation for an expected start in the April 14 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

Working by himself with regular exercise rider Joel Barrientos aboard, Hansen was relaxed and went evenly. He was timed with splits of 12.20 seconds, 24.20, 36.60, and 48.40, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.80. He began his work at the half-mile pole and breezed an eighth of a mile past the finish.

“He lost a bit of weight off his last race,” Maker said, in reference to Hansen’s winning performance in the Gotham on March 3 at Aqueduct. “We were not looking to do much. We’ll pick it up next week.”

Although the Blue Grass is the most likely next race for Hansen, Maker said a return to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial, run a week before the Blue Grass on April 7, had not been entirely ruled out.

He said the benefit of the Blue Grass over the Wood was a reduction in shipping. A van ride from Churchill Downs Trackside to Keeneland is little more than an hour.

“The Gotham was a hard race for him,” he said. “He didn’t recover as quickly as he usually does. Maybe it was the race, or the shipping back and forth.”

Dr. Kendall Hansen, the colt’s majority owner, said he likes the preparation of going from a race on Polytrack, the synthetic surface at Keeneland, to dirt at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

Hansen won going from Polytrack to dirt last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after winning the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway. And Animal Kingdom won last year’s Kentucky Derby after winning the Spiral over Polytrack at Turfway.

* Also working for Maker Saturday was Morgan’s Guerrilla, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 in company with Grade 1 winner Stately Victor. Morgan’s Guerilla is bound for the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 7 after winning a maiden race at Aqueduct on the Gotham undercard.