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Aug 03, 2012

Hansen not ducking anyone


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Champion colt Hansen will be making his second start since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby in Saturday's $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. The nearly all white three- year-old will face nine rivals in the 1 1/8 mile stakes.

The West Virginia Derby comes one week after two of the summer's better known races for three-year-olds, the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga and $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

This week during a national conference call, Hansen's owner and namesake Dr. Kendall Hansen was asked if talk about his colt not taking on the best three- year-olds was justified because the horse also ran in the Iowa Derby on June 30.

"Well it upsets me but you know I'm thinking if I get upset about it maybe there's some truth to it," Hansen said. "So obviously do I want to run against Bodemeister or Paynter every month? No, but do I want to eventually run against them to prove that I'm better? My answer is yes."

The somewhat flamboyant Dr. Hansen, however, also considers the fans when planning the colt's racing schedule. He and trainer Mike Maker are not just thinking about 2012, but beyond.

"I'm just shocked at how many fans this white horse has," Hansen said, "and I think it's part of my responsibility to make sure he's going to keep running as a four- and five-year-old and if you go out there and run against a Bodemeister or Paynter every month, your horse probably isn't going to be running at four or five. So we are picking our spots and we're trying to do what's best and safest for the horse but also by the end of it all the fans will eventually see what he can do."

Hansen, the colt, was not allowed to have his tail dyed blue for the Blue Grass Stakes, that will not be the case for the West Virginia Derby.

"Just a few days ago I talked to the stewards and they seemed agreeable," Dr. Hansen said, "but they wanted to run it by the West Virginia Racing Commission and they just kind of wanted to know why we're doing it and we told them. They said fine. And we're just doing it for fun and for a lot of Hansen's younger fans and people that think they're young and it was just kind of unfinished business for me from before. I was always a little sad we never got to pull it off. You know I took all the criticism for it. I never got to do it. I think even people that don't think it's a good idea probably would like to see it at least one time, then they'll have more to criticize about but I think everybody wouldn't mind seeing it once whether you like it or not."

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