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Hansen is early Derby favorite

Hansen, right, with Ramon Dominguez, wins the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, remaining undefeated in three races.

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Hansen, right, with Ramon Dominguez, wins the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, remaining undefeated in three races.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jockey Ramon Dominguez had four words for trainer Michael Maker in the moments after Hansen upset even-money favorite Union Rags by a head to win the $2 million Juvenile: "See you in May."

As in back at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

The light gray colt's victory solidified him as the winter book favorite for the 2012 Derby and kept him undefeated in three races after two runaway wins by a combined 25½ lengths, including the Kentucky Cup Juvenile.

"I find out no horse has ever been in front of him in a workout, and he's just been playing up until (Saturday)," co-owner and breeder Kendall Hansen said. "Just two races, they didn't really ask him for all he's got. It was nice to see him have to dig down (Saturday) and work for a change, because he's been playing until now, right?"

It was the first loss in four starts for Union Rags, who should remain a Derby contender heading into his 3-year-old season.

The past four Juvenile winners never started the Derby.

Top upset: The biggest upset in two days full of surprises was by 64-1 shot Court Vision, who took down three-time winner Goldikova in the $2 million Mile. Court Vision and jockey Robby Albarado triggered a win payout of $131.60, second-biggest in Breeders' Cup history behind the $269.20 Arcangues paid to win the 1993 Classic. They covered the distance on the turf in 1 minute, 37.05 seconds. Goldikova's bid for a record fourth consecutive Mile win ended in a third-place finish. Turallure was second. This was Goldikova's final race before retiring.

THE SON ALSO RISES: Joseph O'Brien first attended the Breeders' Cup as a boy tagging along with his father, famed Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien. On Saturday, the 6-foot 18-year-old became the youngest jockey to win a Cup race when he guided 6-1 long shot St Nicholas Abbey to victory in the $3 million Turf.

O'Brien is 18 years, 5 months, surpassing Fernando Jara, who was 18 years, 10 months when he won the 2006 Classic on Invasor. "It's a dream come true," Joseph O'Brien said.

Said Aidan O'Brien, "Wonderful race. Incredible. What can I say. He's an amazing rider."

If Joseph keeps growing, he soon will be too heavy to ride thoroughbreds. "I'll keep riding as long as possible," he said.

injury report: A.U. Miner pulled up around the final turn in the Marathon after fracturing the sesimoid bone in his left front leg. He will have surgery this week. … The two horses scratched minutes before post Friday are fine. Announce was unruly in the warmup before the Filly & Mare Turf and hurt a leg. She had stitches and will be fine, Juddmonte racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said. Shotgun Gulch was scratched at the starting gate for the Filly & Mare Sprint because of severe muscle cramping, owner-trainer C.R. Trout said.

Hansen is early Derby favorite 11/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 5, 2011 10:34pm]
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