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Hansen, 2011’s two-year-old champion, has had an up and down 2012. It started out well enough as he won or finished second in three races leading up the Kentucky Derby. Billed by his ownership as “The Great White Hope”, expectations were high for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner when the “Run for the Roses” came around. He ran well enough for most of the race, but the Derby doesn’t forgive horses who tire, and that’s what seemed to happen with Hansen down the stretch, as he finished 9th.

Since the Kentucky Derby, Hansen has been working, but not racing. He was scheduled to start in the Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes last month, but a low blood count kept him out. Finally, this past Saturday in Iowa, he was able to get back into competition in the Grade III Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows. Right out of the gate, as he is prone to do, Hansen went right to the front of the five horse field. It was an easy ride for jockey Ramon Dominguez, as his white colt pulled away at the final turn, without ever having to be pushed. It was an impressive showing for Hansen as he seemed to do his best running at the end. He was followed across the wire by Hero of Order and Macho Bull.

Hansen has now won five of his eight career starts and finished second twice. He is expected to start next in the Grade II West Virginia Derby, with an eye on the $1 million, Grade I Travers Stakes at the end of August. The field in that race is expected to be a “who’s who” of three-year-olds as Triple Crown race participants Union Rags, Dullahan, and Bodemeister, among others, are expected to run.

As we draw closer and closer to the Breeders’ Cup and start turning our attention to the two-year-olds of 2012, it makes one realize that we have started down the road towards the 2014 Kentucky Derby. It’s not too early for fans to start making their plans to attend the 139th Derby and can help. Kentucky Derby tickets and ticket packages are on sale now and those who get their orders in the earliest get priority in seat selection. Surf the web to or give their friendly sales staff a call at 877-DERBYKY and put together the right package for your Kentucky Derby vacation!