08/18/2012 4:00PM

Saratoga: Hansen's stamina questions make him Travers outsider

Barbara D. Livingston
Hansen comes into the Travers having to prove he can be effective going 1 1/4 miles.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Despite being a champion, one of just two Grade 1 winners in the prospective field, and the primary speed in the race, Hansen figures to be somewhat of a longshot in next Saturday’s $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

In addition to trying a 1 1/4-mile distance that many believe is beyond his reach, Hansen will be racing just three weeks after finishing fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the West Virginia Derby.

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On Saturday, Hansen completed his major preparations for the Travers by working five furlongs in 1:02.80 at the Trackside Training center in Louisville, Ky.

“The race didn’t take much out of him,” trainer Mike Maker said by phone. “He’s held his weight good considering he has a tendency to lose weight. His energy is high. If he’s not fit by now, he never will be. It was a maintenance breeze. He did it well within himself.”

Maker and owner Kendall Hansen believe the early pace proved to be Hansen’s undoing in the West Virginia Derby. He dueled outside of Hero of Order through fractions of 24.43 seconds, 47.33, and 1:11.23 before giving way inside the sixteenth pole. Hansen finished fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Macho Macho.

“They don’t have that saying pace makes the race for nothing,” Maker said. “The opening quarter cooked him.”

The distance may also have cooked Hansen. He faded to ninth in the Kentucky Derby, chasing hot early fractions and he has never won beyond 1 1/16 miles.

“He’s run a mile and a quarter before. It’s just that a bunch of horses ran quicker than he did,” Maker said. “Hopefully, we’ll run quicker than them this time.”

Hansen is scheduled to ship to Saratoga on Monday.

Entries will be made and post positions drawn for the Travers on Wednesday. The 10-horse field is expected to include Alpha, Atigun, Fast Falcon, Five Sixteen, Hansen, Liaison, Neck ‘N Neck, Stealcase, and Street Life.

Turbulent Descent preps for Ballerina

Turbulent Descent, last year’s Test winner, worked four furlongs in 48.04 seconds Saturday morning in company with Mildly Offensive. Turbulent Descent is preparing for the Grade 1 Ballerina on Friday, which will be her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher.

“Really nice,” Pletcher said of the work. “She seems like she’s sitting on go.”

Others expected for the Ballerina, a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, include All Due Respect, Derwin’s Star, Island Bound, Nicole H, and possibly Sweet Cassiopeia, Winning Image, and Bold Affair.

ed white More than 1 year ago
I cleaned up on show bets at the WV Derby when Hansen missed the board. Crowd was very upset that day. They gave out little Hansen dolls and stuff. Blue tail didn't cut it. This horse really looks like a mile horse, not a mile and a quarter.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Agree blue tail did not cut it.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
You are probably right, but we have all next year to run Hansen 8 and 9 furlongs. The 3 year old Classics like the Travers Stakes only come along once in a thoroughbreds career.
Turnbackthealarm More than 1 year ago
How can Hansen's owner expect him to get a classic distance if a 24 and change quarter cooks him? Did he see Questing's fractions today? Also, check out the hardware on his bridle for a simple workout. This horse does not want to rate and obviously fights when restrained. This poor horse could get the Eclipse for most mismanaged with Dullahan a close second.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Maker won the 2 year old Eclipse with Hansen. What are you talking about!? Mismanaged...haha...we have the Eclipse and Breeders Cup trophies. The goal of a 2 year old Champion is the Classic 3 year old races. He has only been been a total of 3 lengths in his two 9 furlong races. Of course he is best at 8.5 furlongs. ..please show me the million dollar Grade 1 that is 8.5 furlongs. As for 24 seconds, everyone is misunderstanding what happened in the WV Derby. Mike Smith had to speed up-slow down-speed up slow down. ..was the problem...Hero of Order jockey was mirroring all Smiths moves....sacrificing his horse to wear out Hansen. ..it was not the time. ....heck Hansen loves 24 second quarters.....it was "how" it was done. There was funny business and lack of sportmanship by Dorrochenko as he was seen by many to be celebrating his horse running 5th, and getting Hansen softened up for the horses off the pace. It was sick. Have you ever seen a trainer send a horse out to do that?....I would understand if he was setting it up for part of an entry.,....but he ran only Hero of Order. He wasn't trying to win the race.
Terry McHone More than 1 year ago
I have to agree that Hero Of Order seemed to be out to tank Hansen. I don't know if they thought he had to shadow Hansen in order to win or what was going on. I definitely hated to see the kind of abuse they heaped on him. As for Hansen's ability to get the distance, well I think he can do it if he can race the way he did in the Gotham. Unless his connections think he is fast enough and strong enough to do it like Questing just did. And as much as I have always loved this horse, I just don't see that hapeneing. But Dr. Hansen, I am happy to be proven wrong. I am hoping he blows us all away. But if he doesn't, then cutting back to a mile might be the logical next step for this brave horse.
marcferrell More than 1 year ago
This is an example of an owner telling the trainer what to do and where to run his horse. My hat is off to Maker that he backs him up in the press but I would guess behind the scenes he is giving his real opinion of the situation. After this they then want to come back and run in a month or less in the Indiana Derby. If he was my horse, no way would he be running. I agree Joe below, that had could a 1/4 in 24 seconds cook a horse like this. The WV Derby was the fastest run in 9 years but it was the last fractions that made it quicker, the first part was run at a slow/reasonable pace.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
You finally get your plane ride?
marcferrell More than 1 year ago
Thank God we did. Horse is back in DelMar preparing for the LA Super Derby.
Mike Lee More than 1 year ago
The second Dominguez races Alpha to the front,the race will be over for Hansen...I have always liked Hansen,but his connections have no business running him past a mile and one sixteenth! Maker and owner Hansen are however in the running for "biggest dopes of the year" with the connections of Creative Cause!! Toss up??? ML
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Again, please show me all the Grade I races at 8 and 8.5 furlongs!!.. I would prefer that too. What are we supposed to do,....win another championship in allowance races?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Sorry. No way he gets this distance. Reguardless of his pedigree he has shown his limitations. Nice colt. Should go in KB to prep for Indiana then BC mile. I called Rags in,Belmont, Questing in her last two. And I see Neck n Neck or Alpha here. Maybe with Mr Zito's colt.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Good idea, that is the plan, the 8.5f Indiana Derby and then the BC MILE, unless he proves everyone wrong Saturday.
Charles Berger More than 1 year ago
Does Mike Maker think everyone else in the field should take back? Maybe then Hansen can go the quarter in 26 or 27 seconds. It's a horse race. Nobody wants to allow any horse a pedestrian quarter. See what happened today in the Arlington Million? He shouldn't run the horse if he doesn't think he can handle the early heat.
Joe Rockhold More than 1 year ago
An opening quarter of 24 and 2 cooked him? Sorry, but if those fractions cook him he shouldn't be routing.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Mike must have been misquoted!!>...Hansen loves 24 second quarters. Mike Smith couldn't relax as Hero of Order would not go by or let us inch away in beginning.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Hansen gets hot n dirty again. It really is time to question the handling of this Colt.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Alpha might be tough to beat on that Saratoga track. I think Hansen has had enough races to endure the mile and a quarter. He is a Tapit and nothing on the Tapit side would prevent him from this distance, regardless of what the handicapped think. I look back at his races and can make an excuse for his failures. Bet this one while he lingers around 4 - 7/2 at post time. I am.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Going after Hansen in this weak field . Love to get 3-1 on him