To set the stage for Hansel's Belmont victory, one must go back to Churchill Downs, where the colt had thrown in an inexplicably bad performance in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 10th after looking like a winner at the top of the stretch.
The once ubiquitous Nick Zito has not been as prominent in recent years, but he still has hopes of finding the types of young horses he used to pick out at the sales on a regular basis. To him it was all about finding classic-type horses.
The Blood-Horse catches up with 26-year-old Hansel, who won champion 3-year-old male in 1991. Hansel defeated Strike the Gold by a head in the Belmont Stakes. Read more in the April 26, 2014 issue of The Blood-Horse.
View Hansel Slideshow
Strike the Gold, the 1991 Kentucky Derby winner, was euthanized at Karacabey Stud Farm in Turkey Dec. 13, it was confirmed by the Turkish Jockey Club. The 23-year-old son of Alydar had been the oldest living Derby winner.
Equivine Farm homebred Redaspen made a bold, rail-skimming move in the final furlong under Eddie Castro, rallying from well off the pace to take the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT) by a length Dec. 15 on the Calder Race Course turf.
By Ray Paulick - Only one trainer in the modern era of Thoroughbred racing--D. Wayne Lukas--has started more horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) than Nick Zito. Beginning with Thirty Six Red in 1990, Zito has sent 14 horses postward in the Run for the Roses. Two of them have won: Strike the Gold in 1991 and Go for Gin in 1994. He's sitting in the catbird seat with as many as five potential contenders for the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
The organizers of "Old Friends," a proposed facility for retired Thoroughbreds, held their first formal event at Hopewell Farm near Midway, Ky., on July 23. The group hopes to use equine star power to publicize the Thoroughbred industry.