NEW YORK (AP) - Hansen confirmed his status as a top contender for the Kentucky Derby by easily winning the $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track on Saturday.
The near-white colt swept to the lead around the far turn and cruised to a three-length victory over My Adonis in the New York prep race on the road to the Derby on May 5.
Hansen has now won four of five career starts, rebounding from his only defeat - by five lengths to the now-sidelined Algorithms in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29.
Majority owner Dr. Kendall Hansen said he wanted to dye Hansen's tail and mane blue for the race, but the New York racing stewards denied his request.
Instead, Hansen left his 12 rivals with the blues in covering the 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.84 under jockey Ramon Dominguez over a good track on a sunny day.
The striking 3-year-old Hansen returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.50. My Adonis, the 5-1 second choice with Elvis Trujillo aboard, paid $4.80 and $4.10. Finnegans Wake returned $7.30 to show.
Tiger Walk was fourth, followed by Pretension, Stealcase, Raconteur, King and Crusader, Side Road, Done Talking, Dan and Sheila, Suns Out Guns Out, and Maan.
Hansen broke from the starting gate in good order in his first race since stumbling at the start of the Holy Bull and finishing second. He took to the outside in the large field of 3-year-olds and bided his time just off the leaders. As the field moved into the turn, Hansen accelerated on the outside and by the time he hit the stretch he was a white blaze all the way to the finish line.
Hansen earned $240,000 for the win and boosted his career earnings to $1,473,305.
As of now Union Rags had been considered the early Derby favorite, but Hansen is the only horse to beat him - by a head in the BC Juvenile to clinch the Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old male.
Hansen, the majority owner with partner Sky Chai Racing, named the horse for himself after trainer Mike Maker told him the colt looked like he was something special. At this point, Hansen has done little to knock that notion.
Hansen, wearing a blue T-shirt with ``The Great White Hope'' emblazoned on the front, said his colt likely will return to the Big A for the $750,000 Wood Memorial on April 7 for his final prep before heading to Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May.
In earlier races, heavily favored It's Tricky made a successful 4-year-old debut and won the $200,000 Top Flight Handicap by 2 3/4 lengths over Love and Pride, and 7-2 third choice Calibrachoa held off Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse by a neck and won the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap for the second year in a row.