Champion Hansen has reportedly suffered a tendon tear that is likely career-ending.
The three-year-old Tapit colt had been training for the Travers Stakes (G1) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. Trainer Mike Maker told the New York Racing Association that there was inflammation in Hansen's left front leg on Wednesday morning, hours before the post position draw.
Dr. Kendall Hansen, who bred the colt and owns him in partnership with Skychai Racing LLC, told Daily Racing Form the colt has a "20 to 30%" tear in the tendon.
"I am in shock … and tears and heartbroken," Dr. Hansen told the Louisville Courier-Journal via text message.
Hansen won all three of his starts in 2011, including the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), in which he bested eventual classic winner Union Rags, to earn the Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old male.
This spring, Hansen won the Gotham Stakes (G3) and finished second in both the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G3) en route to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), in which he finished ninth. He rebounded to win the Iowa Derby (G3). In his most recent, and perhaps final, start, Hansen finished fourth after setting a contested pace in the West Virginia Derby (G2) on August 4.
Hansen won five of nine career starts for earnings of $1,810,805.
Hansen's injury is the latest blow for a three-year-old crop that has seen nearly all of its stars shelved or retired.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner I'll Have Another was retired with a tendon injury on the eve of his Triple Crown bid, while Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags was retired last month with a minor suspensory injury. Grade 1 winner and dual classic placed Bodemeister was retired on Tuesday with a shoulder injury, and stablemate and Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) winner Paynter was ruled out of the Travers due to an illness.