Race of the Week 2017

All Hail Hansen

I will stick out my neck and say that the Breeders Cup Juvenile was the BEST race of the day on Saturday, November 5, 2011. It was followed closely by the Dirt Mile, but when the underappreciated Hansen held of the powerful late kick of the juvenile freak, Union Rags, it ignited an excitement, a fire, an anticipation for what may be in store for the Triple Crown of 2012.

However, lets take a step back, turn our head from the future and look at what is going on now. Right now we have two fantastic two year olds that the nation much choose between. The choice to be made is who will be crowned a Champion, and as of now, the nation would seem to be completely split. Those on the side of the son of Dixie Union claim that if not for running 78ft more and a very green run down the stretch he would be 4 for 4. Those stand in Hansen’s corner point to the track bias he overcame and his inexperience over dirt. So who should it be?

I already gave my opinion in my Eclipse Award blog, but did not get a chance to elaborate. For those who did not read my previous blog, the choice of Dead Heat Debates is Hansen. I understand all the arguments for Union Rags it was a tough race, problem is it is hard for me to believe that  it cost him the race when he has overcome the same and more in previous races, to not just win but completely dominate.

In the Saratoga Special he got caught up in a hot speed duel and pulled away to win dominantly, while swerving across the track, in and out, in and out. Even with all of his antics he still pounded the competition. In the Champagne you see one of the worst trips a horse can have. He was boxed in the majority of the race. He dropped back after it was realized there was no way he would be getting a close position early, then when he made his move he was in behind a wall. He went to the inside, no room, and when a hole opened to his outside, it was seemingly too late, but it was not. Union Rags found another gear and spurted clear, yet again dominating the field.

During the Breeders Cup Juvenile he was wide, no doubt about that, but he was in the clear and ready to roll. I understand he ran 78 feet further, but again he was in the clear and by the time they reached the top of the stretch he wasn’t even 3 lengths behind and still could not get to Hansen. I understand he had run greenly, but he had done that before and still managed to win with ease. The simple fact is that this horse had experience, he had been exposed to these circumstances before and still won in the past. This time he did not.  He ran a great race, but had no excuse.

Hansen was the untested poly specialist coming into this race. When a horse has been untested they are a huge liability, why? The reason why is because you don’t know how they will react when faced with adversity. This was Hansen’s first time racing over dirt and to make matter even more difficult he was taking a huge step up. This would be his first time facing not just winners, not just stakes winners, but legit grade one winners. You also have to give the colt credit for overcoming a track that was extremely demanding on frontrunners. I was on the rail, and I could see it was a very sticky looking track.

Yes, Union Rags had to overcome some trouble, but compare it to what Hansen was up against and it doesn’t begin to hold a candle. Hansen did all the dirty work, had the most going against him and had every single reason to fold like a cheap tent…but he didn’t. Give credit where credit is due, give Hansen the credit he rightly deserves. Like it or not he did run just a good a race or better. He deserves to be your Champion Two-year-old.


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Older Comments about All Hail Hansen...

@icyhotboo - note my use of the word "should" instead of "is". the award is usually given based on fan passion, the looks of the horse, the lobbying of the owners, etc. actual results and accomplishments are far down the list of criteria. that's why Z won HOY in 2010 and why UR will probably win 3yo in 2011. sad but true - same thing happens in elections.
@cugel the clever- Thankfully the dogma you espouse is not used as evidenced by the crowning of Zenyatta. Give it to the best horse, Union Rags!
Couldn't of said it any better myself :)
MaryOsborne: The award should be based on actual results, not "might have been" or "next year". On this criteria, it should be Hansen, no contest.
Hansen has a good pedigree for distance on both sides with Storm Cat Pulpit and Raiseva native on the dam side. Hansen has alot of heart which he proved in the Breeders Cup.nunion rags is a good horse too. Michael matz was one of my trainers when I showed horses so I always like him. To me this could be another rivalry like Affirmed and Alydar
Mary: Are you one of those psycho fans?? You are just keep writting and writting about how great Union Rags is,well we know that! And Hansen is a great horse too! They are both great horses,but no you just can't understand the fact that Hansen beat Union Rags and you just hate Hansen because of that,don't you? If all of you can't agree on who Champion 2-yo schoulf be,than I just think they schould be both.
Come on you guys, Union Rags is the horse. Hansen on the front end, Union Rags galloped ahead of him. Hansen is a sprinter, end of story. Distance will be a problem for him IMO.
Hail to Hansen!!!!! And kudos to Turfway Park. Kicked to the curb by all the pundits, Turfway has responded by providing the first synthetic Ky Derby winner(Animal Kingdom) and coming back with the Juvenile champion. Not bad for a six month run.
As of now I think we have three very definitive 3yr olds who have much more to give. 2012 looks to be an interesting year.
As of now I think we have three very definitive 3yr olds who have much more to give. 2012 looks to be an interesting year.
Hansen! I wish the best for all the up and coming juvies. Next year's 3 yr old crop won't have to go far to beat the 3yo this year!!! Other than Dialed In, there was a different winner in every Derby prep this year! Follow that up with the TC with a different horse winning each of the three! I think the pro handicappers were glad when that was over with! LOL
Both horses would have had legit excuses for not running well (Hansen on the lead on a track biased against speed, Union Rags running greenly and wide) but they both ran terrific. I don't really know who is "better," - I just hope they both stay sound and healthy to be back at the BC a year from now, this time in the Classic.
Very good points. Union Rags is a VERY good colt, but Hansen was much the best in the Juvenile. I hope he is voted champion 2-year old male.
I like Hansen for Champion 2 year old, and it looks like we have three colts that may have the breeding to go longer as 3 year olds, Union Rags, Hansen and Creative Cause. This could be a good crop and the fillies look pretty strong also, now if a few older horses stay in training, 2012 could be a lot better than this year, although that would not be too difficult.
  • DeadHeat · Well PrePeg looks to be gunning for the Malibu, so a good return there would be a good sign going into 2012. MMM came back in spectacular fashion today. Animal Kingdom is also coming back. I think this group will give us a bit more excitment to look forward to than the group we had this year. · 2204 days ago
Scott, don't give me the credit, give brian, candice or whomever gets to find them and post them that. For some reason my computer doesn't like posting pic...I can never get it to do it. But it is a great pic, I love it, even though it wasn't me who put it up, lol. Buttt, obviously I did write the blog, so thank you for the compliment on that. I was really expecting some resistence since i've heard from a lot of people that they though UR should get the title.
I agree. Hansen in my pick.
This article was great, I LOVED the fact you used a picture with Victor Lebron in the irons. It's a shame he didn't get his 1st Breeders' Cup mount and Win.
I am a Creative Cause fan when it comes to the 2 year olds. I honestly think if Hansen doesnt move in front of him in the stretch, CC wins. Although, That didnt happen. Hansen ran an excellent race and even if he won by a nose he deserves to be crowned Champion. For a horse to lead the entire race then out kick the entire stretch against 2 of the best stalkers in the race was super impressive.
Besides... what these horses *might* do Next year has absolutely nothing to do with who gets the Eclipse Award This year.
I agree, I even stated in my blog that this was the best race!!

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