Dr. Kendall Hansen has done it again.
The owner/breeder, who is known for pulling such wacky acts as dying his champion colt Hansen’s tail blue prior to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), recently revealed some other unusual plans.
Kendall Hansen's future hopes include mating Hansen with the Danzig mare Lady Primrose, who he recently adopted from Omega Horse Rescue. Oh, and he also expressed interest in someday having Hansen perform double duty as a racehorse and breeding stallion. But we'll get to that later.
Shortly before Hansen competed in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Kendall Hansen saw an advertisement in the back of The Blood-Horse magazine that Lady Primrose was being offered for sale by the Airville, Pa.-based Omega Horse Rescue.
“It was such a coup to get a 7-year-old Danzig mare,” said Hansen. “(Danzig) was pensioned the year before (Lady Primrose) was born, but then he was bred 18 times the year she was born, so she’s one of the last 18 (offspring) by Danzig.”
Hansen talked with Kelly Smith of Omega over the phone several times about Lady Primrose before acquiring the mare. He went above and beyond Omega’s adoption fee by giving a generous donation to the facility.
“When something has a little twist to it like this…for a horse this good to be in a rescue situation, I think it’s kind of cool and something is going to come of this, you know?” said Hansen.
Lady Primrose, who was rescued by Omega from a low-grade horse meat auction with a foal by her side last Mother's Day, is now boarded at Annice Johnston’s Land o’ Goshen Farm near Louisville.
Lady Primrose, relaxing at Land o' Goshen Farm
"We purchased four horses with foals by their sides and she was one of them," said Smith. "We didn't know who she was when we bought her. I just knew I was saving four broodmares and their foals. She was in the poorest condition of the group of them. They were very thin. She was very untrusting of people initially....we had to work through some issues with her and teach her that we're nice and don't want to hurt her. She came along and relaxed and settled in. As a group of horses, (the rescue mares) became a lot nicer to handle and be around. All four of the mares turned out to be nice horses."
Kendall Hansen reported that Lady Primrose has already been checked in foal to Proud Citizen since arriving in Kentucky in early May.
“Since Hansen won’t be ready (to breed) for a year or two or three, I thought it would be nice to breed her with something now and I checked available stallions and she crossed really well with Proud Citizen,” said Kendall Hansen, who keeps four other mares at Land o’ Goshen, including Hansen’s dam, Stormy Sunday. “(Breeding Lady Primrose to Proud Citizen) was a really great decision because it was right before he got hot.”
Hansen noted how Proud Citizen had been represented by several prominent stakes winners this year, including Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Believe You Can, Vinery Racing Spiral (gr. III) winner Went the Day Well, and Peter Pan (gr. II) victor Mark Valeski.
“Proud Citizen is one of the hottest stallions right now and I got him for $10,000 which I feel real good about,” said Hansen. “He had a real, big Triple Crown run that a lot of people forget,” he noted of the stallion’s respective second and third-place finishes in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Smith wanted to clarify a couple of things regarding Lady Primrose's
situation: "We do not generally allow any breeding of our rescued
racehorses," she said. "Dr. Hansen is the one exception to the rule. We
don't want to be part of the problem...we want to be part of the
solution. He has the understanding that if he does not want her, then
she comes back to the rescue. This was a decision of our board of
directors...being that (his donation) could financially help the rescue
and who this horse was, an exception was made."
Kendall Hansen said several farms had already expressed interest in standing Hansen at their facilities, including Airdrie Stud, Spendthrift Farm, Coolmore, Lane’s End, and Ramsey Farm.
But the owner/breeder does have one interesting stipulation for the facility that winds up with his champion runner: “I’m going to try and get somebody that’s going to allow me to run him and breed him at the same time,” Hansen said.
He believes his horse has enough energy to cover 130 mares a year while still competing on the track. I guess only time will tell if that’s the case!
I can’t help but admire Kendall Hansen’s unabashed approach to the industry. He may be controversial, but he is drawing attention to our sport. If you remember right, I recently wrote a blog about a horse named Eagle Time that bred and raced simultaneously. Granted, he only covered a couple mares a year, but still…
There have actually been a few other well-known horses over the years to follow the same concept, including multiple grade I winner and United States champion older horse Bertrando.
In a 1993 Los Angeles Times article regarding Bertrando’s situation, it states:
“If Bertrando leaves the breeding shed and makes a comeback as a racehorse, his name will be added to a short list of prominent double-duty Thoroughbreds that includes Boston (a Hall of Famer who raced in the 19th Century), Seabiscuit (horse of the year in 1938) and Carry Back (winner of the 1961 Kentucky Derby). Candy Spots, winner of the Santa Anita Derby in 1963, got 28 mares in foal in 1964 and then added to his stakes total.
“More recently, Silveyville and Variety Road ran successfully after productive stints as stallions. Silveyville retired with $1.2 million and Variety Road earned almost $950,000. Bertrando's sire, Skywalker, won the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1986, became a stallion during the 1987 breeding season, and finished the year with one victory in four starts and earnings of $84,650.”
Bertrando performed double stallion and racehorse duties in 1994 in order to have another chance at winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). While he finished sixth in that race, he won two other stakes that year, including the Goodwood Handicap (gr. II).
Click here to read the full LA Times article about the reasoning behind the decisions behind Bertrando’s unusual breeding/racing situation.
So tell me, what do you think of Kendall Hansen’s most recent breeding choices?