Hansen (Tapit x Stormy Sunday by Sir Cat)
The color "grey" is not uncommon among thoroughbreds. It results when a horse develops white colored hairs over dark colored skin. Although it was once though to be a "weak"color and indicative of a horse's poor health or abilty as a runner, we now know that a grey horse has no more health problems than one of any other color (except a strong tendency towards melanoma, for obvious reasons). Still, grey racehorses are usually actually grey in color (often with dark dapples throughout their coats), and do not attain the lighter patina that might be described as "white" until they are older. Hansen does not fit this pattern.
As if he wasn't flashy enough by himself, his owner (also named Hansen) is a very flashy kind of guy. He doesn't fit the mold of a traditional horse owner, and makes for excellent interview material. But let's stop with the petty info and get down to the real question of what kind of racehorse he is.
Not too shabby, as it turns out.
Hansen is the reigning juvenile champion of 2011. He got this title after winning his first two races very impressively, and following them up with a nose win over Union Rags in the ever important Breeder's Cup Juvenile. Those three races were enough to crown him champion, but not enough to convince most folks that he could make the mile and a quarter Derby distance. His running style was very much a "go to the front and never look back hell bent for leather" kind of style, which tends not to bode well for longer distances. His defeat of Union Rags appeared to be at least partly luck, for if the latter had not swerved crazily in the stretch, he probably would have caught the white wonder.
Hansen started out this season with a loss that confirmed the suspicions of some, but did not detract from his supporters, who expected a bit of a "bounce" off his long layoff. He improved in his next start, winning the Gotham Stakes and proving, in doing so, that he could rate (meaning that he could allow other horses in front of him a bit and save some of his speed for the end of the race). Now he heads back to his Bluegrass home to see if some horse (any horse) can keep the Derby favorite spot for more than a week.
From a pedigree perspective, Hansen is by one of the hotest up and coming sires around (and the progenitor of a whole bunch of grey colored stakes winners). Tapit is a good sire for distance horses and is proving himself to be the best sire son of Pulpit, who was himself probably the best sire son of A.P. Indy. All good distance horses. His mother's side leaves a bit to be desired. His dam is a daughter of Sir Cat, who is a second rate son of Storm Cat, and her female family is even more questionable.
Whether or not Hansen wins on Derby day is something one can only guess at today. However, its clear that, of all the horses currently pointing towards the starting gate, he'd look the prettiest in a horseshoe of roses.
He's just so damn adorable!!