Dr. Kendall Hansen was blown away when his 2-year-old homebred colt Hansen destroyed the field in the Sept. 24 Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park to remain undefeated in two starts. And he seems pretty confident Hansen will race well in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
“I don’t want to sound overconfident,” Hansen, a Northern Kentucky pain management specialist and longtime Thoroughbred owner, said Nov. 2. “Actually I’m scared as hell. I just hope he gets to have a chance in the race.”
Hansen, a gray/roan Kentucky-bred by Tapit , debuted Sept. 9 at Turfway and romped by 12 1/4 lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight event. Two weeks later he was the heavy 1-2 choice in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile and had no trouble stretching his speed to 1 1/16 miles; he won by 13 1/4 lengths.
The colt was never headed in his races, immediately opening up clear leads. In the Kentucky Cup Juvenile he went his second quarter-mile in :23, lost two lengths of his six-length lead on the far turn, and then opened up again under mild urging.
Hansen said trainer Mike Maker told him his works at the Churchill Downs Training Center have been excellent in preparation for his racing debut on dirt. Maker opted to keep Hansen at the training center to provide consistency for the colt.
“I’ve talked to Mike and he’s excited to go to bed each night,” Hansen said. “It’s like Christmas for him.”
After the WinStar Kentucky Cup Hansen said he would take on partners for Hansen, and the week of Oct. 30 he was able to find them. Skychai Racing, owned by Dr. Harvey Diamond and Jim Shircliff purchased an undisclosed share in the colt.
Skychai owns the Maker-trained Twinspired, who finished second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland earlier this year. “I met them through Mike Maker,” Hansen said.
Hansen said he asked Maker when Ramon Dominguez, who will ride the colt for the first time, will gallop him, and Maker said he wouldn’t. Hansen apparently is so headstrong only an exercise rider can ride him in works.
Hansen also said he spoke to Maker about Hansen “not having had dirt in his face,” and how he would handle it in the Juvenile.
“This race is so difficult, so I said it’s possible he’ll have to tuck in second or third,” Hansen said. “Mike had a strange smile on his face and said, ‘Kendall, we don't have to worry about him getting dirt in his face.’ I hope he’s so far in front the other horses won’t be able to see him.
“He’s locked and loaded.”
Hansen is out of the Sir Cat mare Stormy Sunday, who Hansen claimed out of her debut for $5,000 at Turfway in February 2005. He eventually gave her away this year to be used as a riding horse, but after seeing Hansen progress, bought her back for $10,000 and a watch.
Hansen became a horse owner about 30 years ago and made a living betting horses at Turfway. He had a larger stable at one time but lost many of his horses in a 1990s barn fire at Ellis Park that wiped out the stable of Art Zeis.