Tapit's 2-year-old son Hansen made his case for divisional honors with a front-running victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) Saturday at Churchill Downs. The gray colt has won all three of his starts in the same style and left his foes too much to do in the long Churchill stretch.
Hansen is the third Breeder's Cup winner for Tapit; he follows Stardom Bound in the 2008 Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Tapitsfly in the 2009 Juvenile Fillies Turf. With Hansen's win, Tapit crossed the $8 million mark in progeny earnings this year, one of only two sires to reach that standard this campaign.
Hansen, named after his owner/breeder Dr. Kendall Hansen, sprinted right to the front going into the first turn of the 1 1/16 miles. He maintained that margin until mid-stretch, when even-money favorite Union Rags took aim at the leader. Hansen dug deep under Ramon Dominguez to hold off his foe by a head in 1:44.44.
Hansen's previous two victories were double-digit margins at Turfway, including a victory in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile. The gray colt is trained by Mike Maker, who is based at Churchill Downs.
“He’s a natural," Maker said. "Obviously his performance speaks for itself. That’s the way he wants to run and we weren’t going to change a thing. It’s just that natural ability. Obviously he’s got a lot of speed and he’s always shown it. He’s also got a lot of fight; a bunch of good characteristics.
"We pointed to the Breeders’ Cup before he ever ran. I only told that to the owners, and they’re as crazy as I am.”
"Going into the first turn, he was a little aggressive," Dominguez said of the winner. "That made me a little concerned. When we got to the backside, he switched to his right (lead) and he came back to me and relaxed beautiful. I got pressed pretty early, around the three-eighths pole, but he continued coming for me."
Hansen earned $1,080,000 for the victory. His dam Stormy Sunday won three of four starts and has one other foal, the winning 3-year-old Tapanna.