Hansen's morning line will come in at 6-5 in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes, according to Gulfstream Park. But facing only five others and packing impressive credentials, the favorite looks destined to be odds-on at post time.
Ramon Dominguez will be back in the saddle on Hansen for trainer Mike Maker after they teamed up for a wire-to-wire victory by a head over heavy favorite Union Rags in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. A Kentucky homebred by Tapit, Hansen won both of his previous starts at Turfway Park by double-digit margins. He's never been headed.
“We’ve had no bumps in the road,” said Maker of Hansen’s recent training. “Hopefully, that trend continues. It’s no different than a closer. You’re dependant on the pace. You just hope no one makes him go quicker earlier than he has to.”
Hansen faces five rivals in the Holy Bull, led by Algorithms -- who comes from an arsenal of 3-year-old talent in the Todd Pletcher barn. A son of Bernardini, Algorithms has won both of his career stars, his debut at Belmont Park in June by 5 1/4 lengths, and a hard-fought one-length allowance score at 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream on Dec. 16. Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano gets the return call. Algorithms is 5-2 in the morning line.
“He’s trained very well,” Pletcher said. “His first two races have been excellent, he’s bred to stretch out, and we’re optimistic he’s a top-level colt.”
Consortium finished a game second, beaten a length as the 4-to-5 favorite to Algorithms, last time out. He comes back in the Holy Bull with John Velazquez aboard for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Kentucky homebred is also a son of the highly-successful Darley stallion Bernardini. He won his only previous start at Aqueduct on Nov. 12 by 4 3/4 lengths.
Fort Loudon also makes his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill in which he finished seventh with a wide trip from the far outside post 13, beaten nine lengths for it all by Hansen. Rajiv Maragh rides Fort Loudon for trainer Stanley Gold. The son of Awesome of Course swept the three ‘open’ divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder before the Juvenile.
Completing the field for the Holy Bull are My Adonis, Elvis Trujillo, Kelly Breen trains; and Silver Max, Julien Leparoux, Dale Romans trains.
--Edited track release with additional content by Dick Downey