08/04/2012 5:05PM

West Virginia Derby: Macho Macho gives Asmussen fourth West Virginia Derby; Hansen finishes fourth

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Macho Macho, under Corey Nakatani, gives trainer Steve Asmussen his fourth West Virginia Derby victory.

CHESTER, W.Va. – Macho Macho gave trainer Steve Asmussen a record fourth victory in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby when taking full advantage of a great trip to post a mild upset Saturday in the 43rd running of the Mountaineer Park showcase.

Hansen, the 3-5 favorite who dominated pre-race speculation for the Grade 2 event with his tail painted blue and vaunted reputation as a speedy 2-year-old champion, took sustained pressure from longshot Hero of Order from the start and was never able to shake clear. He finished fourth after being passed inside the eighth pole not only by Macho Macho, who got first jump, but by Bourbon Courage and Called to Serve, the eventual second- and third-place finishers.

With Corey Nakatani aboard, Macho Macho settled into a very comfortable trip alone in third, a few lengths behind those dueling leaders.

“I found myself in the catbird’s spot, biding my time,” said Nakatani. “It worked out great.”

Macho Macho, a gray colt owned by Jerry Durant, returned $11.40 as second choice after finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.98 over a fast track. Bourbon Courage was a half-length behind the winner, with Called to Serve (12-1) another half-length behind him. Hansen, ridden by Mike Smith, was another 1 1/4 lengths back in the field of nine 3-year-olds.

“We got pressured all the way,” said Smith. “I guess it just wasn’t his day.”

Asmussen watched the race from Saratoga, instead sending assistant Darren Fleming in his place. Prior West Virginia wins for Asmussen came with Real Dandy (2005), Zanjero (2007), and Soul Warrior (2009).

Much of the show pool was wagered on Hansen, leading to respective show payoffs of $11, $23.40, and $15 on the top three finishers. In the immediate race aftermath, there were no reports of any gamblers jumping off the nearby East Liverpool Bridge.

Macho Macho, a Kentucky-bred by Macho Uno, was coming off a second-place finish in the July 8 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park. The win was his third in seven overall starts and his first in a stakes. He earned $451,500, more than quadrupling his bankroll to $546,214.

“This colt is really coming around, and honestly, we didn’t know he would be this good,” said Fleming, adding the colt was to van back to Asmussen at Saratoga.

On a hot, humid afternoon, Hansen went in fractions of 24.33, 47.33 and 1:11.23 when racing outside of Hero of Order, a 37-1 shot famous for winning the Louisiana Derby fourth months ago at 109-1. That duel took a clear toll, as Macho Macho came calling on the outside, Bourbon Courage on the rail, and Called to Serve farthest outside.

“Corey’s horse just had a little more,” said Deshawn Parker, the standout local jockey who rode Bourbon Courage, the 5-1 third choice. “He gave me every kick he can give me.”

Hansen was the only horse in the race eligible for a $150,000 bonus by virtue of having won a Grade 1 race, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall. The other major disappointment in the race was Le Bernardin, the Pegasus Stakes winner who finished last with no mishap at 8-1.

The $2 perfecta (4-8) paid $64.40; the $1 trifecta (4-8-6) returned $188.30; and the 10-cent superfecta (4-8-6-9) was worth $44.63.

* Smith and Mike Maker, the trainer of Hansen, got a small measure of redemption by teaming with favored Major Marvel ($7) to win the final race of the all-stakes Saturday card, the $100,000 West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup.

Major Marvel, ridden by Mike Smith, finished the mile and 70-yard distance in 1:37.21 over a firm course, setting a stakes mark while also lowering the turf course mark set just a few hours earlier by Frontside in the President’s Cup.

Tonto Fontenot was second at 6-1, while Sneakin Thru was third at 55-1 in a field of 11 older horses.

Joe Tartaglia More than 1 year ago
Just watched this race for the first time - how many times is Mike Smith going to lose a big race this year? Just an absolutely stupid ride on Hansen. Based on this pitiful ride, I can't blame Hansen's connections for taking a shot at the Travers. He had no business going the second quarter in 23 seconds. Let Hero of Order run on, and Hansen wins the race. Please, please, please - no more Mike Smith.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
Got to give Dr.Hansen credit for coming into this forum several times and giving his thoughts and responding to ours,in an extremely cordial way. Stand up guy.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
So now Doc H. says in Marty McGee article "It's 90 % Hansen will run in the Travers. Haven't given up on the distance. Other possibilities are Smarty Jones or Indiana Derby.' no mention of King's Bishop. who knows.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
The Travers is a Classic. I was sad not to run in the Preakness and Belmont. This could be my only chance left to run a horse in a Classic. I was thinking the mile and sixteenth (Hansen undefeated this distance 4 for 4) Smarty Jones the week after the Travers, but Mike Maker gave me enough confidence from a talk we had yesterday to get me on board with the Travers. A significant fade in the Travers will end the distance quest and likely put us on the path for The Indiana Derby Oct 6 and Breeders Cup dirt mile Nov. 3. Two reasons to run in Travers:...seve­ral of the strongest 3 year olds are not going to make it and who the heck is going to go out and run with Hansen if they are serious about winning it, ....past performance says Hansen will fade anyway. I'd have to check with my partners but if we do fade in the Travers, you guys here will likely get your wish and we will keep Hansen away from the longest Graded stakes. At one mile and sixteenth Oct. 6 in the Indiana Derby is logical and that is my home state......and then 4 weeks later in the Breeders Cup Mile.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Obviously you forgot to tell Hero of Order and his trainer this vital piece of information. You bet at least him will go with Hansen again in the Travers, and the Russians do not back down from anyone. The winner of the Louisiana Derby's qualifications to run in the Travers are at least equal to Hansen's since he owns a G2 win at 9 panels.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Didn't know Hero of Order was going to enter Travers. So tucking behind us in Iowa Derby did not work. Speed dual with us did not work in WV Derby. I am friends with this trainer, he is sharper than most think, you think Hero would enter Travers just to get in speed dual with us again? We have never gunned Hansen from the gate. Never asked him to go fast right out of gate. I think we will ask him this time. We will take our chances on the lead. Everyone thinks we cannot go the distance.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I like it. After what happened, the conventional wisdom is to either: - drop to an easier race at 9f - cut back to a shorter distance at the same level - stretch out to longer distance at the same level Personally I would cut back, but I like your style. I will put $100 on Hansen to win just to be a sport. I already have my Travers box, it's B49. I will say hello if I run into you.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I think Hansen will serve up some classic runners in the shed. And I'm not one who thinks he is incapable of winning a classic. He's not a historical superstar, though. But how many are?
Perl More than 1 year ago
On paper ten panels seems a stretch but it's possible he catches a field devoid of too much speed and gets an off track to his liking. Who is to say I wouldn't consider the travers if I owned Hansen? And the three year old division is weak right now outside of baffert's top two and neither may make the trip. It would also help if Saratoga installed a conveyor belt for Hansen from the 3/16ths pole to the wire but hey ya never know.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
never underestimate the winner of the Jim Dandy. Jim Dandy runners have won 6 of the last 10 Travers. Anything 60% in horseracing is a very very strong trend.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Kendall, did u ever consider selling Hansen for a boat load of money like Reddam? quiting while your ahead isnt the same as quiting.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Hansen does not have very strong credentials to sell for "a boat load of money" at this time. You don't need a boat to carry $10mil. What country are you from?
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
Bob Baffert just tweeted, "Paynter doing well. Won't ship to Saratoga until next week.' Altho BB recently said they might ship Paynter this past Weekend, if they are shipping him next week,one assumes he will be running. Unless this is a "holding' comment meaning they are not entirely sure yet.
John Dutchy More than 1 year ago
I trust that bob will make the right decision. He knows he has he beat 3 yo but you just can't rush if he is not 100%
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
would he run Paynter in the Travers if he only gets one or two 5f workouts between Haskell and Travers ?
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
The horse does not need more than 2 works, he just needs his "supplements" which they would not be able to give him if they have to treat the fever. But since the fever went away by itself, Paynter has been getting his regular supplements.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Time to try Hasen on the turf. Also, anyone else thinking he might be more of a miler-type than a 9+f horse?
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
It has been decided: Hansen's path to the Breeders' Cup will be via the King's Bishop at Saratoga and the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway. It is to be decided whether he will try the BC Dirt Mile, BC Mile or the BC Classic.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
GiG, I wonder why in the world the Doc is telling Marty Mcgee "90% Travers.still like the distance,' when he is going King's Bishop.the deception,if true,is mindboggling. can't figure what he has to gain by faking out people. I'm sure you have great sources.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Didn't mention the King's Bishop to Marty.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Classic misdirection, the Doc was an ardent reader of The Art of War. Travers weekend is war: Ballerina - Turbulent Descent Test - Jamaican Smoke Ballston Spa - Zagora (a beast from ancient Greece who fought and ate humans) King's Bishop - Hansen (war paint) Travers - Paynter (almost all black, crazed ancient warhorse) Pat O'Brien - Coil (coiled actions = kill instruments) Pacific Classic - Richard's Kid (that's the warlord crusader King Richard's son, Robin Hood and all that good stuff)
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
GiG, you seem to know him well, but who would the misdirection be aimed at? if he is running in the King's Bishop, why not say so and try to scare a competitor or two away from the KB, rather than scaring a competitor away from the Travers, which he isn't running in (says your source) ?
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
So Doc,... are you still out there? You've been awfully quiet lately!
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
I am still here although I was pouting and and turned off the computer all day Sunday. I am embarrassed. And you are one up on me. I thought you guys would roast me here but you all have been pretty kind. Appreciate that.
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
You're OK Doc. No need to be embarrassed. You're actually one up on us. We've yet to own a horse that won the BC Juvenile and ran in the Derby !!
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Hansen will not show for the Kings' Bishop.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
and that would be cuz Doc tells Tim Wilkin Hansen is running in the Travers,right ? unless you think reporter Tim is making things up.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
No, I got that from my friend Harvey, the rabbit...
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I heard from my friend Frankie the ferret, who's a friend to Harvey the rabbit, that the Doc will change his mind in a couple of weeks. They will also go back to Victor Lebron, the original rider for Hansen.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
eh,what's up Doc ? hearing from Ricky Rodent, Doc will run Hansen in Travers and an albino kangaroo (blue pouch) in the King's Bishop. why not ?
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
pretty good!!
Carson Wiest More than 1 year ago
i hate when people say that Hansen has been running in garbage races his last couple outings. Since when is 750k a garbage race? i bet not one person here has ever had a horse in a race this big.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
Vast majority here wanted to see Hansen go against Paynter in the Haskell. in any sport people always want to see best against best, right ? money not the issue.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
well sorry about that!...but I think Paynter will be just fine for the Travers.
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
'Garbage races' do not refer to the purses, but the quality of his competition.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, the West Virginia Derby drew a stronger field overall than the Haskell, and Mountaineer Park held an exciting 9-race all stakes card!! Not even Churchill or Santa Anita was able to card an all-stakes day for their Breeders' Cup events. Great job.
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
I don't know, man. A winning 94 Beyer just doesn't do it for me. Great Grade III company though, if that's what you meant.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
H&H Hansen and Hard Spun. Connections: Hard Spun: owned by outspoken owner Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms, trained by high percentage trainer Larry Jones. Hansen: owned by outspoken owner Dr. Kendall Jackson, trained by high percentage trainer Mike Maker. Pedigree: Hard Spun: by Danzig, bred to run on any surface including slop Hansen: by Tapit, bred to run on any surface including slop Maiden race Hard Spun: won for fun sprinting wire to wire by over 8L Hansen: won for fun sprinting wire to wire by over 10L First 2 turn race Hard Spun: won for fun in a lesser stakes race wire to wire by over 6L Hansen: won for fun in a lesser stakes race wire to wire by over 10L First time trying to rate Hard Spun: in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn, disastrous off the board 4th Hansen: in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, rank to the first turn and wide throughout, but won impressively First time in a major stakes race Hard Spun: as second choice, upset high regarded favorite Twilight Meteor in the Blue Grass Stakes, now a G1 race Hansen: as second choice, upset high regarded favorite Union Rags in the G1 BC Juvenile First time racing too far Hard Spun: in the Belmont Stakes, finished midpack off the board Hansen: in the Kentucky Derby, finished midpack off the board First race after Triple Crown Hard Spun: failed to stay 9f in a rich $1mil race. Hansen: failed to stay 9f in a rich $750k race King's Bishop Hard Spun: won in gutsy fashion tracking from 2nd in a career best 107 BSF effort. Post time favorite among an average field of 3yo sprinters. Hansen: should be post time favorite among an average field of 3yo sprinters. Result to unfold. It would be foolish for Hansen's connection to not try the King's Bishop, a race so prestigious that you will gain far more prestige winning it than to finish second in the Travers. Hard Spun's connection did not waver even when it was annouced that Curlin would skip the race. Mike Maker knows it's the right race. In time Dr. Hansen will go along, I think after he consults his fiancee in Ukraine.
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
Ever consider being a trainer ?
Perl More than 1 year ago
Hansen couldn't hold Hard Spun's jock and I will bet against him if he tries the King's Bishop. They should put him on grass (I mean turf, not pot).
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Horses hold with their mouths. Hansen is a sweet guy, he wouldn't want to hurt Mario Pino. But you're on the right track, they should go back to Victor Lebron. By the way, Hard Spun was widely viewed as just speed until his valiant Derby try. There were many doubters still until he actually won the King's Bishop and then turned the table on Street Sense in Kentucky Cup.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Yeah and I bet against hard spun in all those races so I never wanted to believe what hickory he was either. However he did show he was the best speed horse of his generation in the derby whereas Hansen got smoked. My sense is that Hansen is a tired racehorse right now and he won't be running travers day but if he's in the kb and 4-5 then I will bet against him just like I bet against hard spun that day when he outsped the sprinters in 44 and gutted it out. Hard spun made a fool of me that day and I will dare Hansen to do the same thing. Since last year's breeders cup Hansen has burned a lot of chalk eater money. I think he has lost at odds on three times this year.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
Grass is Greener. I loved the comparison. Thanks. It is wise to learn from history. I really hate the 7 furlong distance, though. Not sure if I ever won a race at that distance. Hansen is strongest right on the 8.5 furlong mark. Please ask the Breeders Cup committee if Hansen can defend his title in the 8.5f 2012 Breeders Cup Juvenile for 2 million again. ....)).
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Total bs...
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Nah...no need to ask them. Let's just alter Hansen's birth certificate. Should be easy since you're a doctor.
unmarx1 More than 1 year ago
TIM WILKIN just tweeted Doc WILL run HANSEN in the TRAVERS. Mike maker was unhappy with Smith's ride, so a jockey change. Quick decision. Will he get his 7-1 odds or better and go all in ? certainly going all in with decision. Great confidence in his horse, or what ?
russell More than 1 year ago
Doc Hansen needs to visit the Doc if he is serious about running in the Travers. He will be at least 10-1. He stopped after 1 mile how's he going to get 1 1/4 miles? The first sign of mental illness is ignoring the obvious.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Getting beat by 2 lengths is hardly stopping.
russell More than 1 year ago
Hes going to face a lot better horses in The Travers and he has to get another furlong. When 3 horses pass you in the stretch that's stopping in my book.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Hansen came home in almost 13 and 4/5 seconds, that's stopping.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Definition of stopping...See replay of Dull's Haskell.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
agree....that is embarrassing for Hansen...I expected him to win by over 4 and come home in 12 and 3/5......very disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
''The first sign of mental illness is ignoring the obvious.'' Actually that's the 2nd sign, Russ. The 1st sign is throwing a hissy fit when informed that your trainer agreed to abide by the stewards' directive by washing the blue dye out of your horsie's tail prior to a prestigious race.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
This is what I eluded to on Hansen article. This colt is going to be run at distances way past his pedigree because of stupidity and arrogance. MILER. Blaming Mike's ride is obsurd. Putting Hansen in The Travers is a waste of time and is going to set this colt back even further. THIS IS WHY GREAT COLTS BECOME NOTHING. I was a good middle distance runner in college. Make me run a marathon over and over and I'm gonna tell you to go #$%^ yaself. Soon Hansen will do just that. Stop trying cause his connections are ignorant.
Kendall Hansen More than 1 year ago
You are right.....except for the ignorant connections part. I might say the same things you are if our positions were reversed. I asked Mike just an hour ago if we should be worried about Hansen losing his will to fight in future races if we keep putting him in spots where he can get passed in the stretch. He hesitated and thought a few seconds, but then said knowing Hansen's personalty, it was unlikely he will stop fighting. I am hoping he stays the same mentally through one more attempt perhaps racing beyond his pedigree.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Sorry. My fault for spouting off here. I have been around graded winners as an assistant and always get frustrated over this stuff. Who am I to judge? I am not there.