Mike Maker’s Hansen returned to the champion form he exhibited in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he romped home to victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, New York. Covering the 1 1/16 mile dirt course in 1:43.84, Hansen broke sharply from post 12 and was four wide going into the clubhouse turn. He soon acquired the third position behind King And Crusader and Maan before quickly overtaking Maan for second.
Into the backstretch, My Adonis emerged to take third, closing in on Hansen, but Hansen was already moving on King And Crusader who he quickly overtook as they made their way around the final turn. Into the stretch, it was all Hansen. A couple of taps from jockey Ramon Dominguez, and Hansen was gone, finishing three lengths in front of Kelly Breen’s My Adonis. Another six lengths back was Dale Romans’ Finnegans Wake who won the photo over fourth place finisher Tiger Walk.
Hansen’s performance now puts him back in contention with Union Rags as the early Derby favorite. However, just as last week’s Fountain of Youth was a race Union Rags needed to win, the Gotham was a race Hansen needed to win. Both colts were clear standouts in their respective fields and a loss to a less accomplished field this close to the Kentucky Derby would have left fans questioning their abilities.
Hansen paid $3.60, $2.80, and $2.50. My Adonis returned $4.80 and $4.10 and completed the $2 exacta for $17.20. Finnegans Wake paid $7.30 and completed the $2 trifecta for $221. Tiger Walk completed the $2 superfecta for $3,489.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby