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It’s that time of year again. The New Year has arrived, the Eclipse
Awards will soon be behind us and the Kentucky Derby prep races have
begun. 2011 saw some top-notch 2-year-olds emerge as early contenders
for the Derby, with speedsters Union Rags, Hansen, Creative Cause, and
Liaison leading the pack. Today will begin a series of articles on
some colts that have a chance to be covered in roses on the first
Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.

Hansen has had a tremendous start to his career. In three races, he’s
never trailed, winning two of those by 12 lengths or more. This past
September, Garrett Gomez rode Hansen to a decisive 13-length victory
in a special weight maiden race at Turfway Park. It was a spectacular
debut, as Hansen ran away from the pack in the last half of the 5 ½
furlong race. In his next start, also at Turfway Park, Gomez was the
jockey again, as he was moved up to 1 1/16 mile and posted another
easy victory, this time running out front early and going on to
victory by 13 lengths and a time of 1:45. There was a big step up in
competition as Hansen ran his final race as a 2-year-old in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 4th.
Ramon Dominguez would saddle the gray colt this time in what would
prove to be a true test. Once again, Hansen broke quickly into the
lead, but unlike in his previous two starts, he would not be able to
pull away, instead just edging out a charging Union Rags at the finish
line to win by a head.

Hansen is owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen with Sky Chai racing holding
partial interest. He is trained by Mike Maker, who saw the potential
in the Breeders’ Cup winner early on, which had the owner excited
about the future; “He told me he was pointing the horse to the
Breeders’ Cup. When your trainer says he’s pointing your horse to the
Breeders’ Cup before his first race, you have to think you have
something good.” [1] The first start for Hansen on his road to the
Kentucky Derby in 2012 will take place at Gulfstream Park in the Holy
Bull Stakes on January 29th.

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