Hansen's speed will be tested at Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The tactics could be different when Hansen returns to Churchill Downs on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby.
He was a front-running winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in his previous race here last November, a victory that clinched the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old.
In a Derby loaded with speed horses, Hansen and jockey Ramon Dominguez could let others vie for the early lead.
"I think Trinniberg, probably coming off those sprint races, has got to be the speed of the speed," trainer Mike Maker said. "Stranger things have happened, but we won't handcuff Ramon and whatever happens when they leave the gate we'll leave it up to Ramon. I would say on paper that Trinniberg and Bodemeister will be sitting there and hopefully we can sit behind them."
Even with his success over the track and his championship credentials, Hansen was a generous 10-1 on the morning line.
NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Creative Cause quieted the Kentucky Derby rumor mill with a routine gallop on Thursday.
Something must be wrong, the backstretch buzz suggested, when the Santa Anita Derby runner-up did not leave the barn for two days following his workout on Monday.
Turns out trainer Mike Harrington, a former veterinarian, was simply following the same pattern he has employed since opening his stable in 1993. Harrington's horses walk for two days following a workout.
No cause for concern, the California-based trainer said.
"I guess everyone will be satisfied now that the colt has gone to the track," he said. "I've always done this. Trainers handle post-workout time differently."
Creative Cause jogged about a mile before breaking into gallop of 1 3-8 miles.
FOLLOWING BOREL: Betting on Calvin Borel has been one of the most lucrative Derby handicapping angles in recent years.
He won aboard Street Sense (2007), who paid $11.80; Mine That Bird (2009), who paid $103.20; and Super Saver (2010), who paid $18.
This time, Borel has the mount on Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, whose early odds are 15-1.
The Florida Derby featured a typical Borel ride, hugging the rail on his way to victory in the $1 million race. The field included Union Rags, the third-place finisher who is the 9-2 second choice in the Derby.
Having Borel in the saddle gives trainer Patrick Byrne added confidence.
"Everyone knows there is going to be a lot of speed," Byrne said. "Calvin can put his horse wherever he wants. It's all up to the jock. I've done my bit. Calvin has won three of these. This is my first time here. I'm not going to tell him how to ride the race."
This will be Take Charge Indy's second race at Churchill Downs, having run fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall. He was a late arrival here, flying in from Florida on Tuesday.
RIDING ROOKIES: While Borel is an old hand in the Derby, four riders will make their debuts in the world's most famous race: Mario Gutierrez, Sheldon Russell, Luis Contreras and Colm O'Donoghue.
I'll Have Another (12-1) is unbeaten in two starts, including the Santa Anita Derby, since Gutierrez became the regular pilot.
Russell rides Done Talking (50-1), the Illinois Derby winner, while Contreras has the mount on Prospective (30-1), the Tampa Bay Derby winner.
O'Donoghue, like his horse Daddy Long Legs (30-1), is based in Ireland.
The last first-time rider to capture the Derby was Stewart Elliott with Smarty Jones in 2004.
SET FREE: Daddy Long Legs is scheduled for release from mandatory quarantine on Friday morning. He has been segregated from the rest of the Churchill Downs horse population since his arrival from Ireland on Wednesday.
Daddy Long Legs is the second straight Derby starter for Aidan O'Brien, the champion trainer who sent out fifth-place finisher Master of Hounds last year.
Daddy Long Legs will be making his second U.S. start. He was 12th in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
In his lone race this season, Daddy Long Legs captured the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai.
BACKUP PLAN: My Adonis will be quickly out the door, on his way to Maryland, if he can't find an opening in the Derby field.
The colt is an also eligible, meaning he runs only if one of the 20 entrants scratches by the 9 a.m. Friday deadline.
"I would really like the opportunity to run him," trainer Kelly Breen said.
But Breen is not sitting by idly awaiting a defection. He entered My Adonis in Saturday's Tesio Stakes at Pimlico and booked a van for the Friday morning journey if the Derby door remains closed. My Adonis would be the even-money favorite in the $75,000 Tesio against five rivals.