Reigning 2-year-old champion Hansen continued his preparations for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) with an easy five-furlong work on Saturday at Churchill Downs’ Trackside Training Center.
Exercise rider Joel Barrientos was in the saddle for trainer Mike Maker as the gray son of Tapit covered the distance in 1:01.20 over a track that was rated “fast” despite heavy rains dumped on the surface by overnight storms that rolled through Louisville. Hansen worked with Maker’s second set after the break for track maintenance, and stepped on the six-furlong training surface just before 9 a.m. (Eastern).
Maker said Dr. Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing’s gray son of Tapit would make his final Kentucky Derby prep in either the Wood Memorial (GI) at Aqueduct on April 7 or the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland on April 14. He said a final decision on which race would be Hansen’s final Kentucky Derby prep early next week.
Hansen worked in fractional times of :12.20, :24.20, :36.60 and :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.80. The move was the slowest of six works at the distance during the morning at Trackside.
Barrientos barely moved in the saddle during the work as Hansen relaxed in the early part of the move and closed well in the run to the finish.
“He’s just fit and happy,” Maker said. “We’re just trying to more or less keep him relaxed.”
The work earned Hansen a trip to Trackside’s sand pen, where he spent several minutes rolling and playing in the damp sand while he cooled out following his training move.
Hansen is coming off an impressive three-length victory in the $400,000 Gotham (GIII) at Aqueduct that improved his career record to 4-1-0 in five races with earnings of $1,473,305.