When Hansen registered a blowout victory in his debut Sept. 9, 2011, at Turfway Park, the colt created a buzz at the northern Kentucky racetrack.
Less than two months later, with a gritty win in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, the flashy gray/roan Hansen put himself squarely in the mix for an Eclipse Award and on Jan. 16 he was honored as champion 2-year-old male of 2011.
Although the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile usually garners year-end championship honors, there was some speculation given the strong effort by Union Rags in the Juvenile, who was gaining on the winner at the wire.
In Eclipse Awards voting, Hansen received 194 first-place votes, well ahead of the 52 for Union Rags. Receiving one vote each were Secret Circle and Overdriven.
Owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen and partner Sky Chai Racing and trained by Mike Maker, Hansen easily won the championship based on his three-for-three record. A Kentucky-bred by Tapit out of the Sir Cat mare Stormy Sunday, Hansen broke his maiden win going 5 1/2 furlongs and followed with a victory in the Sept. 24 Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Turfway.
Hansen is a homebred for Hansen, a pain management specialist who gave away the colt’s dam only to buy her back when Maker told him Hansen was showing plenty of potential in his training.
After a brief break from competition, Hansen was shipped to Maker’s barn at Gulfstream Park in Florida and is expected to make his 2012 debut in a stakes there.
Kendall Hansen, at one time a horseplayer based at Turfway, has indicated he’d like his colt to return to Turfway for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) in late March.