Last year’s Juvenile Champion Hansen returns to the winner’s circle in his second start of the season. After failing to visit the winner’s circle in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park in his 2012 debut in January, Hansen returned to his winning ways on Saturday, streaking to victory in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct for owners Dr. Kendall Hansen and Harvey Diamond.
Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Hansen, who broke from post position No. 12, was carried wide around the clubhouse turn. He settled nicely in the run down the backstretch before moving to the leader around the far turn.
With an impressive turn of foot, Hansen shot clear of the tiring pacesetter at the head of the lane and set sail for the wire. He had plenty in reserve to keep at bay the late rally of My Adonis. Hansen stopped the timer in 1:43.84 for the 1 1/16 miles. My Adonis held second.
“He really took the step forward as far as maturing,” said Dominguez. “He actually did it better than I expected – he was so relaxed. Coming to the three-eighths pole when he switched to his left lead and I got after him, he went on beautiful. He really did it as nice as I could expect. I was hoping that he could take the step forward, mind-wise, but he really took it further than I expected. Awesome. Galloped out like a freight train, too.”
Trainer Michael Maker was relieved to get his charge back in the win column.
“Obviously, I didn’t like losing all that ground, but of more concern to me was he didn’t leave the gate as quick as he normally has,” Maker said. “But Ramon said it was no big deal, he settled nice and that’s what we were looking for. More impressive, he lost all that ground and wasn’t rank behind horses and settled. Ramon said [on] his gallop out, he had to call the outriders to come and get him. Great. He did everything perfect today, and I don’t have to be embarrassed after his last race. I hope we can keep him figured out for the next couple of months.”
Hansen is expected to make his next start in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7.