(Reuters) - Hansen rebounded from his only career defeat to claim a decisive victory in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes on Saturday and maintain his status as a Kentucky Derby favorite.
The near-white son of Tapit came from off the pace before crusing to a three-length victory over My Adonis in the Grade III race at Aqueduct.
"He really took the step forward as far as maturing," said Hansen jockey Ramon Dominguez. "He actually did it better than I expected, he was so relaxed.
"Coming to the three-eighths pole when he switched to his left lead and I got after him, he went on beautiful. He really did it as nice as I could expect."
The victory was the fourth in five career starts for the juvenile champion. His only loss came in his 3-year-old debut, the Grade III Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on January 29.
Hansen, the 4-5 favorite in the field of 13, broke from the 12 post and went three-wide on the far turn before securing the lead.
"Obviously, I didn't like losing all that ground, but of more concern to me was he didn't leave the gate as quick as he normally has," said Hansen trainer Michael Maker.
"But Ramon said it was no big deal, he settled nice and that's what we were looking for."
Finishing third in the mile and one-16th race was 25-1 longshot Finnegans Wake, who was six lengths behind My Adonis,
The Kentucky Derby will be on May 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
(Reporting By Steve Ginsburg in Chicago; Editing by Gene Cherry)