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Hansen goes for West Virginia Derby

Tue 31st, July 2012

Chester, WV (Sports Network) - Eclipse Award winner Hansen heads a field of 10 three-year-olds for Saturday's 43rd running of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.

Fresh off an Iowa Derby victory, Hansen will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. The pair will break from post nine.

"We plan to ship him to Mountaineer from the Churchill training center the day before the race," said Hansen's trainer Mike Maker. "This is a good spot for him."

Hansen won the Iowa Derby by 10 lengths as the 1-10 favorite versus four rivals. It was his first start since a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

Previously ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Hansen captured last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. In March the colt won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct between second-place results in the Holy Bull and Blue Grass Stakes.

Owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing, the nearly all white colt has five wins in eight career starts for $1,773,305.

Trainer Steve Asmussen goes a fourth West Virginia Derby win with Macho Macho. The colt will be ridden by Corey Nakatani from post four.

Macho Macho is coming off a second-place finish behind My Adonis in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 8. On June 16 at Churchill Downs he was third to Neck 'n Neck in the Matt Winn Stakes.

Owned by Jerry Durant, the colt has banked $94,714 with two wins in six career starts.

Three years ago Soul Warrior gave Asmussen his third West Virginia Derby victory. The trainer earlier won the race with Real Dandy (2005) and Zanjero (2007).

Last Saturday, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga with Alpha. This week, McLaughlin has Le Bernardin entered at Mountaineer.

Le Bernardin will be ridden by Mike Luzzi from post seven for Darley Stable.

The colt, who did not race in 2011, has won three of five starts for $146,000. He won the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 17 after finishing 10th and last in the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park on May 12.

From the rail out here is the field for the West Virginia Derby: Macho Bull, Eddie Martin Jr.; Hero of Order, Eddie Martin Jr.; Z Camelot, Deshawn Parker; Macho Macho, Corey Nakatani; Morgan's Guerrilla, Leandro Goncalves; Called to Serve, Leandro Goncalves; Le Bernardin, Mike Luzzi; Bourbon Courage, Deshawn Parker; Hansen, Mike Smith and Penn's Grant, Luis Garcia.

Post-time is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. (ET).

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