Friday, April 13, 2012

Blue Grass Stakes Racing Roundup

Hansen, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) hero and Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Male, will seek to establish himself as leader of the “herd” Saturday when he races in the 88th running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

Since his 2-year-old season, Hansen has struggled to gain the role as leader of the 3-year-old division when he finished a well-beaten second to Algorithms in the one mile Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park in January.

I liked Algorithms in that race and had previously profiled him in my 2012 Kentucky Derby Outlook as a young colt that may have classic potential. However, he was later taken off the trail with an injury.

In March, Hansen rebounded from his loss in the Holy Bull with a three-length victory over My Adonis in the Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack. Overall, his record is 4-1-0 in five career starts.

While Hansen, the 6-5 morning line favorite in the Blue Grass, is a very talented son of Tapit, there are other young colts in this race that I like better and if I use Hansen it will be on the bottom of the exotics.

Howe Great and Dullahan, the 6-1 morning line second co-choice set by Mike Battaglia, are currently at the top of my Derby list and a solid run in the Blue Grass will keep them in that spot. Howe Great tops the list but he will need to win in order to advance to the Kentucky Derby while Dullahan already has enough graded stakes earnings.

Howe Great is a young colt I’ve been interested in since last summer and I profiled him in my Derby Outlook. Like Hansen, Howe Great also has a 4-1-0 in five career starts but he’s run in fewer stakes races.

His win the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park last month was one of the best performances I’ve seen on this year’s trail. In that race, Howe Great stalked fast fractions set by pacesetter Scorcher and showed me that he has the “will to win” when Dullahan tried to close gap in the final yards of the stretch.

If Howe Great repeats that performance with a win in the Blue Grass, he’ll be a tough Kentucky Derby contender.

Dullahan also looked good finishing second to Howe Great in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) and he’s somewhat of a “buzz” horse coming into the Blue Grass. Trainer Dale Romans used the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) as a springboard for Paddy O’Prado who won the 2010 edition of that race and went on to finish second in the Blue Grass and third in the Kentucky Derby.

Dullahan already has a win over the Keeneland track with three-quarter length win over Majestic City in the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1) last fall. Dullahan followed that win with a solid fourth-place finish to Hansen, Union Rags and Creative Cause in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1).

Prospective (10-1) is an under-the-radar Malibu Moon colt that I’ve liked in all of his races as a 3-year-old and he comes into the Blue Grass with a 4-2-0 record in seven starts.

His only bad race was a dead-last finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs last fall and since then he’s won the Pasco Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and finished second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3).

Malibu Moon, the sire of Prospective, only raced twice until he was retired with a slab fracture. But at stud, Malibu Moon has produced some nice sprint and middle-distance horses such as Life At Ten, Devil May Care, Declan’s Moon and Malibu Mint.

Awesome Again, the damsire of Prospective, was a good middle-distance runner that won the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and earned classic honors by winning the Queen’s Plate Stakes, one of the most prestigious races in Canada.


  1. What the story about painting Hansen tail blue ? They are reporting the owner and trainer having a huge argument after the race. Also, Hansen was awaken to paint his tail, and then given a bath to remove. ALL BEFORE THE RACE.

  2. Barry,

    It definitely was too much drama before the big race.