Hansel, who captured hearts and souls along with the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1991 for owners Lazy Lane Farms in Virginia, has been euthanized due to the infirmities of old age.
At the ripe old age of 29, Hansel – who was named the Eclipse Award winner as the champion 3-year-old that season — had been the oldest living winner of a Triple Crown classic.
“He was a very talented race horse, and a consummate gentleman on the farm,” said Lazy Lane General Manager Frank Shipp, in an interview with “The Blood-Horse” magazine. “He gave so much to us, and to his fans. We will all miss him dearly.”
Hansel was bred in Virginia by Marvin Little, Jr. and was purchased by Joe Allbritton’s Lazy Lane Farm at the Keeneland September Sale in 1989 for a sum of $150,000. After his early training at Lazy Lane, Hansel was shipped to Texas for further education with Cheryl (Asmussen) Mallow. He was later transferred to the barn of trainer Frank Brothers.
Hansel won his first race in June, 1990 at Arlington Park, as a 2-year-old. He went on to win the Tremont Stakes, the Sapling Stakes, and the Hopefl Stakes, before finishing his 2-year-old season with a victory in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.
As a 3-year-old, Hansel won the Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway and galloped off to a 9-length victory in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. As a result, he was made the post-time favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but he failed to fire on the First Saturday in May, finishing 10th.
But it didn’t take him long to recover or get back to the winner’s circle. Hansel won the Preakness by seven lengths in one of the top 10 fastest times ever for that Triple Crown event. Three weeks later, he won the Belmont by a head over Strike the Gold, the Kentucky Derby winner.
Upon the conclusion of his racing career, Hansel was sold to Gainesborough Farm in Kentucky, to stand as a stallion. He stood in Kentucky before being shipped to New York and then to Japan.
In 2005, he was reacquired by Allbritton and returned to Lazy Lane in Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his life.