Hansen will be flown to New York for the Grade III Gotham Stakes on Wedneday after turning in his final breeze at Gulfstream Park.
“His last breeze on Sunday (a bullet five furlongs in :59.00) was strong,” said co-owner Kendall Hansen. “He actually ran another furlong, and we were pleased with that. It was actually a six-furlong work. He was running 12-second furlongs, and that’s his cruising speed. Since he put up a bullet last week, his next breeze will probably be slower.”
Hansen the human said the colt's five-length defeat by Algorithms in the Grade III entailed some misfortune.
“We had some bad luck last time, and people probably think we’re beatable,” said Hansen. “We were about 75 percent last time and were hoping for an easy spot, but we ran into a top horse in Algorithms. He is doing well right now. We’re at about 85 or 90 percent. Obviously, we want to peak in May.”
Hansen said trainer Michael Maker has been working on getting the son of Tapit to settle in his workouts, and that the 1 1/16-mile Gotham, which is expected to draw a large field, will test the colt’s ability to race in traffic.
“It’d be nice to see a few horses come to his side early, and then have him lead by about three or four lengths at the quarter pole,” said Hansen. “It’s going to be fun, and I think we have the horse to beat. You don’t want to go against the champion in his first start after a loss. He was really ticked off.”
Dan and Sheila, Raconteur from Pletcher Barn
Todd Pletcher will have two in the Gotham: Raconteur and Dan and Sheila. Dan and Sheila, a More Than Ready colt, exits an impressive effort in the Grade III LeComte at the Fair Grounds on Jan. 21. He was three-wide around the first turn and rallied from twelfth to finish fourth to Mr. Bowling in his second start.
“I thought he ran a very respectable race at the Fair Grounds,” said Pletcher’s assistant, Michael McCarthy. “Once Johnny was able to wheel him outside, he was able to start picking up horses. He finished up strong and galloped out well. Obviously some seasoning will do him some good.”
After going 0-for-5 as a 2-year-old, Raconteur broke his maiden over the Big A’s inner track on Jan. 2 and four weeks later followed that up with a three-quarter-length victory in a one mile, 70-yard optional claimer.
“It’s taken him a little while to come around,” said McCarthy. “Obviously he’s put together some decent races back-to-back. It might be a little bit of a tall order at the moment, but I think he deserves a shot to be in there. We know he likes the racetrack; maybe he can come and mow them down late.”
Maan to Stretch Out
Maan, unbeaten in two sprint starts, is likely to make his stakes and route debut in the Gotham, Tom Morley, trainer Eddie Kenneally’s Belmont Park-based assistant, said Friday.
Maan debuted a 1 1/2-length winner in July at Churchill Downs and was taken to Saratoga for a possible start in the Grade II Saratoga Special.
“When we bought him, he was a real sharp-looking 2-year-old type of horse,” said Morley. “He broke his maiden at Churchill, and Eddie had the Saratoga Special in mind for him. We took him to Saratoga, and the horse grew and became a completely different animal. The best thing to do with him was to turn him out and give him a break. He suddenly looked like he was going to mature into a proper-looking horse, so Eddie decided to give him a little break. Eddie is not afraid of doing that with nice horses. He’s very, very patient, especially if he thinks they have a smart future in front of them.”
In his seasonal bow, a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer contested in the slop Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park, Maan left from post 1 and rallied along the rail to prevail by a half-length.
“He ran a huge comeback race in Florida,” said Morley. “He did not get a clean trip at all from the inside post, but showed a lot of guts and a lot of class to win. We hope he can turn into a real nice horse.”
Morley said the Gotham is perfectly timed to stretch out Maan and try him in a graded stakes.
“I think the horse has the class,” said Morley. “He is a stakes horse, there’s no doubt about that. Will he stretch out? There’s only one way to find out. He certainly didn’t seem to be stopping at the end of his allowance win in Florida. It was a good indication that may not be just a nice sprinter. To be a real good horse, you not only have to have tactical speed but also the ability to stay. I don’t think a mile will be a problem for the horse, but after that I don’t think anybody knows.”
Big Turnout in the Cards
The March 3 Gotham will likely feature more than a dozen entries.
According to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, in addition to Dan and Sheila, Raconteur and Maan, lining up to face Hansen are:
--Consortium, seventh in the Holy Bull;
--Done Talking, who came from last to finish fourth, beaten just a length, in the Grade II Remsen last fall;
--Jimmy Winkfield winner King and Crusader;
--My Adonis, third in the Holy Bull;
--Tiger Walk, third in the Grade III Withers;
--Chief Energy, making his first start since August;
--Cop A Tude, making his stakes debut after a pair of victories at Laurel Park for Graham Motion;
--Pretension, a New York-bred that's 2-3-0 from five starts, including the Sweet Envoy last time out.
--Edited NYRA release