Lazy Lane Farm's Hansel, winner of the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and subsequently an Eclipse Award winner as champion 3-year-old male of 1991, was euthanized Tuesday at his owner's farm in Upperville, Va., due to the infirmities of old age. He had been pensioned from stud duties in 2012.
Bred in Virginia in 1988 by Marvin Little, Jr., Hansel was a son of Woodman out of Count on Bonnie, by Dancing Count. He was purchased by Joe Allbritton's Lazy Lane Farm at Keeneland's 1989 September Yearling 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 2-year-old year. Hansel won the Grade 3 Tremont at Belmont Park in his next start in July, then placed in the Sapling at Monmouth, and G1 Hopeful at Saratoga. He returned to Chicago to finish his 2-year-old season with a win in the G2 Arlington-Washington Futurity.
Hansel's 3-year-old season began with two starts at Gulfstream Park in Florida – a fiftth-place in the G2 Fountain of Youth, followed by a third in the G1 Florida Derby. Shipped north for his next race, he annexed the G2 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 G2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, which resulted in favorite status for the G1 Kentucky Derby, where he finished 10th.
The G1 Preakness saw Hansel run out to a seven-length win in 1:54 for 1 3/16 miles, which still stands as one of the top 10 fastest in the history of the race. Hansel then took the Belmont by a head over Derby winner Strike the Gold, earning a $1-million bonus for the Triple Crown Series.
Hansel later ran third in the G1 Haskell at Monmouth before ending his career with a game second to Corporate Report in the G1 Travers, finishing with an injured tendon that forced his retirement, with total earnings just 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 5 Group/Graded winners, including G2 Swale Stakes winner Sharp Humor.
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.”
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