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Union Rags out, Hansen in as No. 1 Derby contender

Sat., April 7, 2012

Hansen, the near-white 3-year-old colt who beat out Union Rags for last season’s 2-year-old championship, has finally moved ahead of his rival to become the leading contender for the Kentucky Derby.

While Hansen was working 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs’ trackside training center over the weekend, 2-5 favorite Union Rags was finishing a less- than-invincible looking third behind Take Charge Indy in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

With 109-1 long shot Hero of Order stunning the Derby prep season with his win in the $1 million Louisiana Derby, and with Daddy Long Legs’ winning Derby audition in the $2 million UAE Derby, there’s a new look to the AP’s latest Run to the Roses Top 10.

Hansen, winner of the Gotham Stakes and prepping for the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14, is No. 1 for the first time, with Union Rags falling to No. 3.


1. Hansen (Mike Maker, trainer; Ramon Dominguez, jockey): Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs trackside training center over weekend. … Inherits top spot with Union Rags’ defeat in Florida Derby (Grade 1). … Dominguez was to return from injury on Friday. … Next start: Blue Grass (G1), Keeneland, April 14. … Derby future wager odds: 12-1.

2. Gemologist (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano): Unbeaten colt worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.44 at Palm Meadows on Sunday. … Only start this year after three wins in 2011 was 7-length allowance score March 16 at Gulfstream. … Next start: Wood Memorial (G1), Aqueduct, Saturday. … Odds: 12-1.

3. Union Rags (Michael Matz, Julien Leparoux): Caught inside behind field, and finished third in Florida Derby as 2-5 favorite. … Upside is colt heads to Derby without having hard race. … Next start: Kentucky Derby (G1), Churchill Downs, May 5. … Odds: 4-1.

4. Take Charge Indy (Patrick Byrne, Calvin Borel): Wire-to-wire Florida Derby win makes colt big Derby factor. … Next start: Kentucky Derby. … Odds: 15-1.

5. Secret Circle (Bob Baffert, Rafael Bejarano): Rebel (G2) winner worked 5 furlongs in 58.40 at Santa Anita last week. … Next start: Arkansas Derby (G1), Oaklawn Park, April 14. … Odds: 30-1.

6. Alpha (Kiaran McLaughlin, Dominguez): Withers (G3) winner has chance to step up with big effort in final Derby prep. … Next start: Wood Memorial. … Odds: 21-1.

7. Creative Cause (Mike Harrington, Joel Rosario): San Felipe (G2) winner worked 6 furlongs in 1:12.80 last Wednesday at Hollywood Park. … Next start: Santa Anita Derby (G1), Santa Anita, Saturday. … Odds: 8-1.

8. Bodemeister (Baffert, Bejarano): San Felipe runner-up looks to be heading to Hot Springs for final Derby prep. … Next start: Arkansas Derby. … Odds: 22-1.

9. I’ll Have Another (Doug O’Neil, Mario Gutierrez): Robert B. Lewis (G2) winner well-rested for first race in three months. … Worked 7 furlongs in 1:26 Friday at Hollywood Park. … Next start: Santa Anita Derby. … Odds: 21-1.

10. Daddy Long Legs (Aidan O’Brien, Colm O’Donoghue): Won UAE Derby (Group 1) to possibly earn trip to Derby. … Next start: Kentucky Derby. … Odds: 6-1 (mutuel field).

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