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Hansel, 1991 Preakness winner, euthanized

by | Jun 14, 2017 | Breaking, Breeding, Top Stories, Triple Crown Trail, Virginia, Virginia Breeding |

Hansel

Hansel in 2014. Photo by Nick Hahn.

From a Lazy Lane Farm release

Lazy Lane Farm’s Hansel, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and subsequently Eclipse Award winner as Champion Three-Year-Old Colt of 1991, was euthanized June 13 at his owner’s farm in Upperville, VA because of the infirmities of old age. He had been pensioned from stud duties in 2012.

Lazy Lane Farm’s general manager Frank Shipp said of Hansel, “He was a very talented race horse, and a consummate gentleman on the farm. He gave so much to us, and to his fans. We will all miss him dearly.”

Bred in Virginia in 1988 by Marvin Little, Jr., Hansel was purchased by Joe Allbritton’s Lazy Lane Farm at Keeneland’s 1989 September Sale for $150,000. After initial breaking at Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia, he received further training at Two Creek Ranch in Texas under the tutelage of Cheryl Mallow (Asmussen) before joining Frank Brothers’ stable at Arlington Park in Chicago, where he won his first race in June of his two-year-old year.

Hansel won the Grade 3 Tremont at Belmont Park in his next start in July, and then placed in the Sapling at Monmouth, and Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga. He returned to Chicago to finish his two-year-old season with a win in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Hansel’s sophomore season began with two starts at Gulfstream in Florida: he finished fifth in the Fountain of Youth, followed by a third-place finish in the Florida Derby. Shipped north for his next race, he annexed the Grade 2 Jim Beam at Turfway Park in track record time under new rider Jerry Bailey, who would remain aboard for the rest of his racing career. Next came a nine-length win in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

Hansel was the 5-2 post time favorite in that year’s Kentucky Derby. But he finished 10th, with the chart noting that he “gave way readily.”

“The Derby was the real mystery,” Shipp recalled last year. But a follow-up work was the sharpest of his career, so his connections moved on to the Preakness.

Hansel kicked off Virginia racing renaissance

The Grade 1 Preakness saw Hansel run out to a seven-length win in 1:54 for the 1 3/16 mile race, which still stands as one of the top 10 fastest in the history of the race. His winning margin is tied for the sixth-largest. Hansel then took the Belmont by a head over Derby winner Strike the Gold, earning a $1 million bonus for the Triple Crown Series.

Hansell later ran 3rd in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth before ending his career with a game 2nd to Corporate Report in the Grade 1 Travers, finishing with an injured tendon which forced his retirement. He concluded his racing career with seven wins from 14 career starts, with total earnings over $2.9 million.

Sold to Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky at the end of his racing career, he stood five seasons there, and two seasons at Questroyal Farm in New York before being sold to Japanese interests for stud duty there.

In 2005 Hansel was re-purchased by Joe Allbritton, and returned to Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia to live out his life there, breeding a few mares privately before being pensioned in 2012. He sired five Group/Graded winners, including French Group 1 winner Loving Claim, and multiple Graded winner Guided Tour, who earned just over $1.9 million. He is also the broodmare sire of five Group/Graded winners, including Grade 2 Swale Stakes winner Sharp Humor.