LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Hansen. He should have been more successful than he was. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
I believe that full disclosure is necessary: I don't like Hansen. It's not at all because of the colt himself, though. I've always felt that he wasn't a Classic Distance horse, I've felt that his connections put him in a place to grab the most headlines and not the best chance to win, I've felt that he was being used as a means to gain publicity for his owner(s). But I've never felt that Hansen was being put in a position to win. That's not fair to the horse. It's a shame too, since seeing him run is actually quite remarkable. He sets torrid fractions, he can carry some obscene speed over 6-8 furlongs (not Bodemeister, Paynter, or even Trinniberg speed mind you, but he's still damn fast), and he looks amazing doing it.
I felt, from the onset of his 3 year old campaign, that Hansen would have been best suited running around and cleaning up all of the 7-8 furlong races restricted to 3 year olds while the rest of his peers battled trying to get into the Derby. His speed was nearly uncontrollable, certainly not lasting 9-10 furlongs, and having him run slower than a 23 was almost impossible. That does not add up to a Classic horse.
If you look at the 7 furlong graded stakes races for 3 year olds through the beginning of the year, you see a distinct trend: they're won by also-rans that are not a factor in the high end 3yo discussion, or by horses that are trying to take a step up to the 8+ furlong division. Looking at three quickly: The Hucheson (G2), the San Vicente (G2), and the Swale (G2). The Hutcheson saw Thunder Moccaisin win in a pedestrian time. Drill won the San Vicente, but we know now he's just not that good. And Trinniberg blew the field away in the Swale by 6 lengths. Could Hansen have won two of those? I think so. Did Hansen have a shot to win the Derby? Absolutely not. I understand shooting for the stars, but the goal may have just been a bit too lofty in this case. (author's note: this is exactly where the Derby Qualifying system may shock a few owners into reality, hopefully)
So, now that I've ranted for 300 words about something over which I have zero influence, let's take a look at Hansen's stallion prospects, shall we?
Hansen is sired by Tapit who is by Pulpit out of Tap Your Heels (Unbridled). He was a graded stakes winner at two, won the G1 Wood Memorial at 3 and was retired to stud. Successful at classic distances. His sire Pulpit (AP Indy) sires good colts and fillies with an average winning distance of 8.5 furlongs. Notable offspring include:
- Ice Box - sire - won the Florida Derby (G1) and 2nd in the Kentucky Derby (a little race in Louisville sometime in May...)
- Sky Mesa - sire - won the Lane's End Futurity (G2) as a 2yo
- Essence of Dubai - sire - Won the UAE Derby (UAE-G2) and the G2 - Super Derby (he has dropped off of the radar, cannot find any current info on him)
- Corinthian - sire - Won the BC Dirt Mile
- Stroll - sire - Won the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1)
Pulpit, being an AP Indy, is a remarkable stallion with the propensity of siring sires. His foals tend(ed) to develop later in their 2yo campaign.
Tapit is out of Tap Your Heels (Unbridled). She won the 6 furlong Hildene stakes at 6 furlongs on the dirt. She has 7 foals, 4 winners, and only one other foal of note besides Tapit. That filly is Overandabeauty and she is listed stakes placed.
Tapit is a fanstastic sire who stands for $125,000 at Gainesway Farm in Lexington. Well, about $125,000, you have to submit your mare to be approved on an individual basis. His progeny have an average winning distance of about 7.25 furlongs. Some of his notable progeny are:
- Tapitsfly - winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
- Trappe Shot - won True North (G2)
- Stardom Bound - mare - winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies, Del Mar Debutate, and Oakleaf Breeders' Cup stakes. Eclipse Award Winner
- Zazu - mare - Winner of the G1 Lady's Secret and G1 Las Virgenes
- Testa Matta - he won the February Stakes (G1-JPN)
- Many others...
Tapit has so many quality runners that basically any mating cross with any significant sire will yield an "A+" nicking rating or higher. So the bloodline works, plain and simple. He sires turf horses, sprinters, routers, dirt horses, big ones, small ones, basically everything. He is also from a lineage that proves his genes are capable of siring quality sires. AP Indy, through any number of sons, and Pulpit, through Tapit and a half dozen others, have shown that the ability to sire quality horses sticks through the generations. He's as well bred to be a sire on the upper half of his pedigree as you could hope, other than being sired by AP Indy or Mr. Prospector himself.
On Hansen's dam's side you have a slightly different picture. His dam is Stormy Sunday who is by Sir Cat (Storm Cat) and out of a Highland Park mare.
Sir Cat was sold to Chilean interests in 2005 after moderate success here in the states. He was a very good runner but didn't pass on his brilliance very efficiently. Before moving to the southern hemisphere, he sired 15 stakes winners. Typically his get got better as they got older. His best progeny were successful on both the turf and dirt between 7-9 furlongs. Other than being by Storm Cat, there isn't a whole lot else to add here.
Stormy Sunday ran 4 times, winning three. She was at her best at 5-6 furlongs. However, she was a low level ($10,000) claimer. She has one other registered foal, a filly named Tapanna, who is a full sister to Hansen. Her race record is ok, as she's a winner, but most importantly she is running in $20,000 claimers. She is still owned by Dr. Hansen.
Hansen's granddam is Thinkinstrait by Highland Park out of Tescudera (Temperance Hill). She is a winner of 2 races in 19 starts. She won at 5.5 furlongs for a $5,000 claiming tag. She has 4 registered foals, Three winners, none of significance.
His third dam is Tescudera by Temperance Hill out of Thorn Apple (Stevward). She is not a winner. She has one registered foal Thinkinstrait (see above). She does have some clever inbreeding though with Turn-To being inbred 4x4 in the sire line and the in the female tail. But other than that, she has zero redeeming qualities.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to Elite Turn (Hansen's sixth, (sixth!!) dam) to find a broodmare that was a producer of any consequence. That's a bad female family.
Bottom line here is that Hansen is clearly a freak. He is by an elite sire, but has no other redeeming genetic qualities that are evident in his pedigree. If you approach genetics from an angle where the best horses from great bloodlines have more good genes than bad, Hansen has 10 great genes, and 10,000 bad, but the 10 are in the exact right places. Freaks have trouble being anywhere near as productive in the breeding shed as on the track due to the difficulty in hitting the genetic lottery twice.
I just don't see him as a legitimate high end stallion prospect. Maybe Dr. Hansen can find him a home off the beaten track. I certainly hope he can.