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Hansen tries Keeneland's Polytrack for the first time
Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing's Hansen, the 6-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's 88th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes, made his first appearance at Keeneland on Friday morning with a jog to the starting gate for a schooling session and then galloping 1 1/2 miles.
Please click here for video of Hansen on the track.
Exercise rider Joe Sharp was aboard the 2011 juvenile champion as Hansen went through his paces. Trainer Mike Maker said Hansen would be on the track at 6 a.m. (EST) Saturday morning for light training.
Maker brought Hansen to Keeneland a day early in order to get the session at the gate.
"He stumbled in the (Grade 3) Holy Bull and in the (Grade 3) Gotham he did not get away very well but he behaved himself," Maker said, noting that Hansen had no problem last fall in his biggest victory, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
Hansen has won four of five starts for earnings of $1,473,305. The near white son of Tapit will break from post position 4 in the Blue Grass and be ridden by Ramon Dominguez.
A victory in the Blue Grass would be worth $450,000 and make Hansen the top money earner to enter the Kentucky Derby in the race's 138-year history. Hansen would have $1,923,305 to surpass Snow Chief's mark of $1,719,040 entering the 1986 Run for the Roses.
Hansen's home base is the Trackside Training Center, about four miles from Churchill Downs, and a victory Saturday would make that spot a must stop in the buildup to the Kentucky Derby.
"We will have a lot of people coming over there," Maker said. "Or, it will be very lonely."
About a half-hour after Hansen came to the track, Sharp brought stablemate Gung Ho to the track for a 1 1/2-mile gallop.
A Kitten's Joy homebred of Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Gung Ho finished seventh behind Blue Grass rival Dullahan in last fall's Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity in his lone Keeneland start. Gung Ho, who will be ridden by three-time Blue Grass winner Edgar Prado, finished second in the Rushaway on March 24 at Turfway Park in his lone start of 2012.
In other training activity involving Blue Grass entrants at Keeneland, Holy Candy and Howe Great each galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. Holy Candy had Lupillo Alferez aboard while Howe Great was piloted by Heather Craig. Politicallycorrect also galloped about 1 1/2 miles under Juan Merino on the main track. Midnight Crooner galloped 1 3/8 miles on the main track with Peter Hutton in the irons.
Heavy Breathing galloped 1 1/4 miles on the training track under Nick Bush, while Ever So Lucky also took to the training track, galloping twice around with Barry Wiseman aboard. Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko's two Blue Grass entrants, Hero of Order and Russian Greek, walked the shedrow.
At Churchill Downs, Dullahan, Prospective and Scatman galloped and are scheduled to ship to Keeneland Saturday morning.