Jon Siegel and Joel Cunningham recap the Gotham Stakes for Triple Crown Insider.
My take: Hansen showed that he can absolutely take control of a race and finish strongly. The complete confidence Ramon Dominguez showed early despite racing wide into the turn and having to track a fast pace was encouraging from a development standpoint.
I wasn't a big fan of the "Hansen needs to rate" meme that populated discussion of the Gotham and the Derby picture before the race, but obviously his Gotham trip was preferable to engaging King And Crusader. I like that Dominguez let My Adonis dictate when to "send" Hansen rather than having to chase King and Crusader.
The only cause for pause from this race that I see going forward is that Hansen was in the clear the whole way around the track. I don't see this as a negative because you want a horse who lets his rider take control of the race and put him in a position to win at all points of call, but it's definitely worth noting as clean trips are never a guarantee.
On the other hand, the best way to get a clean trip is to be the fastest horse at each point in the race, and it looks as if Maker and Dominguez have found a good balance on how to ration that speed.
Long-term prognosis: I moved Hansen up to eighth on my top ten Derby rankings but based on the action he took in pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, I can't imagine he'll be offering much value over the next 8 1/2 weeks. Currently, I see him as a big threat to win the regional Derbys that are so popular throughout the summer and fall. There's a lot of money to be made by winning the Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Oklahoma Derbys.
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