On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
March 16, 1991
Hansel in Florida

Hansel was no match for the previous year's champion 2-year-old male Fly So Free at Gulfstream Park in his first two starts of 1991.

A grade II winner as a juvenile, Hansel first met the champ in the Feb. 23 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and finished a well-beaten fifth. He got a little closer to him when third in the March 16 Florida Derby (gr. I).

Hansel departed for Kentucky and promptly won the Jim Beam Stakes (gr. II) in track-record time at Turfway Park, and then easily won the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland by nine lengths.

Meanwhile, Fly So Free lost for the first time since the previous summer, finishing second to Strike the Gold in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland.

Derby Day came and the crowd made Hansel the 5-2 favorite, followed by Fly So Free at 3-1 and Strike the Gold at 9-2. Strike the Gold won, with Fly So Free finishing fifth and Hansel 10th. Hansel, in the absence of Fly So Fly, took command of the division with a seven-length win in the Preakness (gr. I) and a close win over Strike the Gold in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

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