Hansen, the almost all-white winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, put himself near the top of the list of Kentucky Derby favorites with an easy win in Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
He beat a weak field but won with confidence and a hand ride down the stretch by Ramon Dominguez. In many ways it was a learning race for the 3-year-old colt. Breaking from the 12 post, he had to navigate a first turn by going six wide and then Dominguez rated him through the backstretch until the top of the stretch where he easily went to the lead.
Hansen has mostly been a front-runner, but Saturday's race showed he has an ability to run a slightly different style. It was his fourth win in five races. He finished second in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park earlier this year after stumbling at the start. Algorithms, the horse that beat him, has since suffered an injury and will not be going to the Derby.
Hansen paid $3.60, $2.80 and $2.50. My Adonis finished second and Finnegans Wake was third.
The Gotham is not a traditional steppingstone to Derby success. The legendary Secretariat has been the only Gotham winner to also win the Kentucky Derby. Four other horses have won the race and won a Triple Crown race.