For those that thought the voting for the champion 2-year-old male of 2011 was going to be a close call between Hansen and Union Rags there was no photo finish for this Eclipse Award. In the end it was a blowout with Hansen receiving 194 first-place votes to only 52 for Union Rags. Now Hansen has even more to live up to for his legions of fans – some of whom are simply enamored with his spectacular presence and stunning nearly white coat.
Hansen won over the Eclipse voting crowd not only with his spectacular 3 for 3 record as a 2-year-old but for how he won his races and where he came from. His first two wins came at Turfway Park, hardly a place where future Breeders’ Cup champions are in training. While Hansen certainly had enormous winning margins in his first two races at Turfway, nobody really knew how he’d stand up to Grade 1 winners like Union Rags in the Breeders’ Cup. In addition to facing much tougher competition he also needed to make a successful switch from synthetic to dirt – passing this test with flying colors.
So, what has Hansen been up to besides making a splash at the 2011 Eclipse Awards? He’s been hanging out at Gulfstream Park getting ready for the Holy Bull, a Grade 3 race and time tested path to the Kentucky Derby via the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby later in the season.
Over the past 30 days he’s been working out once a week, over the main track at Gulfstream showing that he’s healthy and ready to run again. While his works aren’t particularly fast – the important thing to look at post Breeders’ Cup is the form of the horse especially after such a brutal race over 1 1/16 miles for still developing 2-year-old horses.
Other horses that have been nominated for the Holy Bull and are likely to start include Algorithms, Consortium, Fort Loudon, and My Adonis. The Holy Bull will be run on January 29, and while Hansen will be the overwhelming favorite if he makes it to post – there will still be plenty of value in the talented field that shows up for this race with all contenders looking to make it to the Kentucky Derby.