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Turfway: Hansen headed to Trackside in Louisville
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hansen was scheduled to ship early Saturday from Turfway Park to Louisville in time to train over the Trackside training center, where the champion colt will be based until making his next start, likely in the April 7 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
Mike Maker, the trainer of Hansen, said Friday that he is consolidating many of his horses back to Trackside, located just a few miles away from Churchill Downs. Both Trackside and Churchill reopened Friday after the customary winter maintenance break of about 10 weeks.
Kendall Hansen, the northern Kentucky pain-management specialist who owns the colt named after himself, has been quoted as perhaps wanting to run in the Vinery Spiral Racing Stakes on March 24 at Turfway, his hometown track. Hansen, the 2011 Eclipse Award winner for top 2-year-old, was a three-length winner of the Gotham Stakes last weekend at Aqueduct.
Maker, however, said early Friday by phone from Turfway that “we went into the Gotham with the Wood on our minds. That’s the plan I’m sticking to until I’m told otherwise.”
Hansen had a routine gallop early Friday over the Polytrack surface at Turfway and was scheduled to school between races Friday night at the Florence, Ky., track, where he was shipped shortly after his win in the one-mile Gotham. Both the Wood and Spiral are 1 1/8-mile races that typically serve as a final prep before the May 5 Kentucky Derby.
Except for January and February, when Trackside is closed, Maker has made Trackside his main year-round base since he opened his public stable in 2003 after a lengthy stint as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas. He said the horses returning to Trackside, which has a six-furlong dirt training track, are being sent from the three tracks where he has had horses this winter – Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, and Turfway – and that he will maintain a string of 15 to 20 horses at Gulfstream through next month.
Kentucky Oaks nominations out
Churchill has released nominations for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks and May 5 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and most of the usual suspects are listed, save one.
Among the 94 3-year-old fillies named to the $1 million Oaks are the Bob Baffert trio of Eden’s Moon, Princess Arabella, and Mamma Kimbo. Baffert won the Oaks last year with Plum Pretty. Other nominees include Grace Hall, On Fire Baby, Disposablepleasure, and Broadway’s Alibi.
Conspicuously missing from the Oaks nominations list is My Miss Aurelia, the defending divisional champion who has been sidelined by a shin injury.
Nominations also are out for the $500,000 Woodford, the traditional lead-in race to the Derby.
Executive changes at Churchill
There have been quite a few personnel changes at Churchill in recent weeks with the departure of longtime employees Julie Koenig-Loignon and David Sweazy and the promotions of Ryan Jordan to general manager and Greg Bush to vice president of operations for the flagship track.
Koenig-Loignon, formerly the vice president of corporate communications for parent company Churchill Downs Inc., and Sweazy, the former vice president of operations for the track, both left last month to go to work for former Churchill racetrack president Steve Sexton at the new Formula One car-racing track in Austin, Tex.
Sweazy had worked for Churchill in various capacities for more than 40 years and was said to know every nook and cranny of the physical plant. He also has amassed an incredibly large private collection of Derby memorabilia through his association with the track.
The promotions of Jordan, 32, and Bush, 50, were announced this week.
Cancer still the focus
Churchill announced this week that while Kentucky Oaks Day once again will highlight an emphasis on the color pink and raising funds for breast-cancer research, its new beneficiary was announced this week as “Stand Up to Cancer,” replacing the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
Oaks Day has evolved into a veritable festival of activities for the breast-cancer efforts, with Churchill donating $1 of every admission and attendees encouraged to wear pink. Churchill began the tradition in 2009 and raised more than $420,000 in the first three years.
More information on “Stand Up to Cancer,” which launched in 2008, is available on the website standup2cancer.org.
◗ Turfway is hosting the 11th annual Charity Night at the Tables after the races next Saturday, March 17. The event raises funds for a number of hometown charities. Tickets are $75 and are available at turfwaypark.ticketleap.com or by calling (859) 371-0200.
Welcome, Stand Up To Cancer.
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