December 4, 2020

Champion, dual classic winner Hansel dead at 29

Hansel lived a happy retirement at Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia (Douglas Lees Photo)

Hansel, the champion three-year-old colt of 1991 following victories in the Preakness (G1), Belmont (G1), Lexington (G2), and Jim Beam (G2), was euthanized Tuesday at Lazy Lane Farm in Virginia due to the infirmities of old age. He was 29.

Bred by Marvin Little Jr. in Virginia, the son of Woodman was purchased by Joe Allbritton’s Lazy Lane Farm for $150,000 at the 1989 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Trained by Frankie Brothers, Hansel won the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G1) and Tremont (G3) at two while placing in the Hopeful (G1) and Sapling (G2).

After running fifth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and third in the Florida Derby (G1) to start his three-year-old campaign, Hansel earned 5-2 favoritism in the Kentucky Derby (G1) off back-to-back wins in the Jim Beam (now Spiral) at Turfway by 2 1/2 lengths and the Lexington at Keeneland by nine lengths. However, Hansel weakened badly at Churchill Downs, finishing 10th behind Strike the Gold in a field of 16.

Sent off at 9-1 in the Preakness two weeks later, Hansel rebounded smartly to win the Pimlico classic by seven lengths, and later held off a late surge from Strike the Gold to win the Belmont by a head. Thirteen lengths third in the Haskell Invitational (G1) next out, Hansel injured a tendon and was retired following a second in the Travers (G1), which he lost by a neck. Hansel compiled a record of 14-7-2-3, $2,936,586.

Hansel initially stood at Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky and later in New York and Japan before Allbritton repurchased the stallion more than a decade ago. He was pensioned in 2012.

“He was a very talented race horse, and a consummate gentleman on the farm,” said Lazy Lane general manager Frank Shipp. “He gave so much to us, and to his fans. We will all miss him dearly.”

Out of Count on Bonnie, by Dancing Count, Hansel’s most prominent offspring included French juvenile champion filly Loving Claim and multiple Grade/Group 2 winners Guided Tour and Fruits of Love.

At the time of his death Hansel was the oldest living three-year-old male champion, Preakness winner and Belmont winner. A.P. Indy, 28, is now the oldest living champion three-year-old and Belmont winner, while Silver Charm, 23, is the oldest living Preakness winner.