ANNIKE BYE HANSEN
Stabell talk 2022
We Got The Boss - seeking more success
We Got The Boss is six years old and seeking more success heading into his fifth season and, as we know, six is no age for a racehorse – particularly for if it's trained by Annike. Looking after the horses, and work for longevity rather than a quick return, has always been Annike's way. “Take care of the horses, and they will take care of you” – it's a well know phrase in racing circles – and it fits so well when it comes to the daily life at Skoganstallen, where We Got The Boss has been residing since moving across the Swedish border in the spring of 2019.
He won twice for Annike in 2019, moved up in class the following year, when he won twice again, forcing him yet another step up the ladder of racing grades. Guess what? It wasn't a problem, he ended up in the winners' circle twice also in 2021. The handsome son of Street Boss, who came to Norway as a rather delicate and somewhat insecure throroughbred almost three years ago, has improved with every season. He is one of those rare horses that always gives his all on racedays. Which is why he has kept in getting better. We Got The Boss's handicap mark was 71 back in 2019. His best mark to date is 87 and he is currently on 85.
So what's left to say about this gelding, one of the most consistent runners around, that hasn't always been said already? When it comes to his racing merits, not much to be honest, as he has been in the headlines on a regular basis. One thing that is worth a reminder, is how well he has been performing with female jockeys on his back. All of his sixs wins at Øvrevoll have been achieved with assistance of the so-called weaker sex. He has won three with Ulrika Holmquist in the saddle, another two when ridden by Nora Hagelund Holm and once, his most recent win, with Willa Synøve Schou on board.
We Got The Boss has won both on turf and dirt. His first start, over 1200 metres at Bro Park when he was a juvenile, resulted in a win. He was tackling 1200 metres that day. He has since been successful over distances ranging from 1600 metres to 1800 metres and he is probably best described as a typical miler. That said, 1800 metres can be a testing distance at Øvrevoll so he is not at all void of stamina. His one try over further, over 2160 metres in 2020, resulted in a fifth placed finish though, and he runs pretty much to what could be expected from a glean at his pedigree. His half-sister Ezpz Lemon Squeeze (Pure Prize) won 4 races on turf in New York, all over 8.5 furlongs.
We Got The Boss is an ambassador for a family that has produced solid, durable runners over the years. His sire, Street Boss, was a top class dirt sprinter who peaked at four, when he won the Triple Bend Handicap (G1) over 7 furlongs at Hollywood Park and the Bing Crosby Handicap (G1) over 6 furlongs at Del Mar. Later that year, Street Boss ran second in the Ancient Title Stakes (G1) – nowadays the Santa Anita Sprint Championship – before finishing third to Midnight Lute in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita.
Californian, Norwegian connection
Street Boss was trained by the late Bruce Headley, who purchased a nice property in Pasadena, near Santa Anita, after selling Street Boss for $5 million. Headley bred and raised most of his horses himself, and kept weanlings and yearlings in a self-made paddock / shelter area at the back of his home. Yes, it was supposed to be large garden – and it was – but it was a garden for young horses due to become champions. It was a far cry from places like Colmore Stud and Clairborne Farm but it clearly worked. Headley's first winner was a horse he had bought for $500. His career highlight came when he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) with Kona Gold, one of 6,212 victories worth a total of more than $38 million.
Headley's Norwegian wife, Aase, made sure the horses never entered the house, by the way. If they had done they might have endangered her impressive collection of the traditional series 'Juletallerken' decorating one wall in the dining room. Headley was also affectionate about plants – not lovely roses one can pick and smell, mind you, his passion was for exotic plants, big ones, and he had created a small forest of such plants at the front of their home. “It helps cooling the property”, he explained, “I often sit amongst these palm trees and plants and think up racing plans for my horses”, he said. Like his four legged friends, Headley was tough and durable. His training career spanned 61 years.
Back to We Go The Boss, and his relatives. The best examples of what a productive family he comes from are Majestic Empire and Valid Miss Chain. Majestic Empire was a half-brother to We Got The Boss's maternal grand dam, Unchained Princess. He enjoyed a remarkable career as a hardy bread and butter performer. 50 starts resulted in 19 wins and 13 placed efforts. His best performance was a win in the John J. Reilly Handicap at Monmouth Park. Majestic Empire won his debut run, at the Meadowlands as a two-year-old, and he went on to win races also at Aqueduct, Garden State, Philadelphia Park and Rockingham Park. The son of Majestic Prince raced until he was seven (when he ran just twice) and kept on winning up to the age of six. Valid Miss Chain (Valid Appeal), a half-sister to We Got The Boss's dam, We Got a Lemon, was a fan favourite at Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park. She won 9 of her 56 races. Valid Miss Chain was also placed 20 times, including twice in stakes company. She was unraced at two, broke her maiden at the second time of asking at Calder as a three-year-old and kept on winning until she was eight. Like Majestic Empire, she had just two runs in her final season, when she was nine. These are the types of runners that keep making owners happy, keep the game going, and they are invaluable to the sport. Like We Got The Boss. GS 220214
Mudjimba set the pace in this 1750 metres long dirt race, while We Got The Boss was being held up at the back. He advanced going around the home turn, led with about 200 metres to go and won with authority.
We Got The Boss refuses to lose
Dead heat in Hesteierforeningens Handicap
03 June 2012: Nora Hagelund Holm, on We Got The Boss, and Per-Anders Gråberg on Face Of Energima, put on a thrilling show in the valuable handicap, and in the end the judge could not separate the two.
Stabell talk 2021
We Got The Boss - keeps on delivering
We Got The Boss won twice at Øvrevoll in 2019 and he repeated the feat in 2020. Keeping busy through the season, he raced 12 times, won two races, finished runner-up four times and ran third once. This is the sort of consistency everyone connected with thoroughbred racehorses hope to experience. Every time We Got The Boss went to post one could expect a good effort. His first win of the season came when Ulrika Holmquist – who rode him to victory also in 2019 – guided We Got The Boss to a solid half-length win in a good handicap contest over 1600 metres / turf in June. Cockney Cracker, a winner on his subsequent outing, chased him home, while future stakes winner Match Maker finished third.
Match Maker gained revenge when meeting We Got The Boss again over 1370 metres over the same course a week and a half later. We Got The Boss ran another sound race though, to be beaten just 1 ½ lengths. Ulrika Holmquist was again in the saddle, as she was when We Got The Boss was ready for another visit to the winners' circle next time out. He was being stretched successfully out to 1800 metres, a distance that poses quite a test of stamina at Øvrevoll. Sent straight to the lead, the son of Street Boss was always travelling sweetly while controlling the pace, and he finished the race off in style to win by 1 ¾ lengths from C'est la Vie. It's quite unusual to see a horse going from a strong performance in a sprint to winning over this distance, and We Got The Boss is clearly versatile. Annike decided to try him over 2160 metres two weeks later but he had to settle for fifth place that day, passing the winning post five lengths behind the high class winner Master Bloom.
We Got The Boss came home in fifth place also on his subsequent start, before running four honest efforts in defeat in the autumn. He was third behind Valence and Swedish Dream in an Elitehandicap over 1600 metres on turf, then checked in second three times on the trot; half a length behind Wishformore over the same trip, a neck behind Sir Leo when dropped back down to 1370 metres on the turf, and finally he was second to Buckybabe over 1600 metres on the dirt track in late October, beaten a little over two lengths as the pair drew way clear of the rest of the field. We Got The Boss thus achieved these results in 2020: 574121553222.
He has certainly been a good friend of everyone who likes to get involved in 'Trippel' betting at Øvrevoll, and that was the case also back in 2019. His two wins that year were gained on Derby day in August, when he captured the valuable Nordpool Spa Handicap over 1600 metres / turf (beating Good Eye comfortably by 3 ¼ lengths), and in September, when he tackled the same distance again to beat Rue d'Argent by 2 lengths. GS040521
Start to finish win over 1800 metres
We Got the Boss strikes again
16 July 20: Obliging for a second time this year, We Got The Boss stretched out to 1800 metres for a game, front-running, win under Ulrika Holmquist - who always rides him so well. We Got The Boss broke smartly to take command from the start. He raced with great zest throughout and ran on strongly when coming under pressure inside the final furlong to beat C'est la vie by 1 3/4 lengths. He has always shown great tactical speed but Annike now wonders how far this this four-year-old can go. "Perhaps he could stay even further?", the trainer commented, "remember, 1800 at this course is a tough distance". It is indeed, and We Got The Boss was not exactly tiring at the finish. He is a son of Champion US sprinter Street Boss, a stallion that has sired very smart winners at up to 1 1/4 miles, and We Got The Boss is out of the unraced mare We Got a Lemon, a daughter of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Lemon Drop Kid, a stallion with a strong influence for stamina - and also a stallion who has given quite a few high class turf horses capable of winning big races over 10 and 12 furlongs. GS
Initiated a nice Bye Hansen double
We Got The Boss in full command
18 Jun 20: A lovely summer evening, and the first fixture with specators on course. Annike chose a good day for sending out two winners, as We Got The Boss and Aconcagua both ended up in the winners' circle. We Got The Boss got the ball rolling, running out a strong half-length winner of the Ihla Grande Handicap, a highly competitive affair over 1600 metres / turf. Ulika Holmquist was back on board and she gave the son of Street Boss a perfect ride. We Got The Boss captured the race by half a length from Cockney Cracker, with Match Maker back in third place. Champagnegaloppen's smart miler won twice in 2019 and, judged on this performance, he stands a good chance of repeating the feat this year.
Stabell talk 2020
We Got The Boss - a smart horse indeed
We Got The Boss joined Annike's team from trainer Lars Kelp in Sweden last summer. He had hinted at talent at Bro Park, but not found the right circumstances to fulfil his obvious potential with Kelp. After settling in at Øvrevoll, he began to find his feet in an efficient way during training and on Derby day, when it matters so much for a stable to do well, We Got The Boss produced an excellent performance to win a valuable mile handicap. He was in a competitive, big field, and racing in Norway, where the undulating track is quite different to the flat oval at Bro Park – in what was sure to be some streetfight – would also pose a challenge. We Got The Boss had raced twice over the course previously, finishing ninth in a sprint and fifth in a mile event, and he made full use of the experience. He had probably matured a bit too, as he gained a solid 2-length win over Good Eye in the Nordpool Spa Handicap. This was fine piece of training by Annike. She guided him perfectly to peak on the biggest day of the year. His win represented improved form for the stunning son of Street Boss. He travelled like a winner throughout and proved much the best in the 15-runner field. His Swedish trained runner-up, Good Eye, went on to win the Breeders' Trophy Mile at Bro Park later in September, and also followed up with yet another win there in October. We Got The Boss beat a smart horse when he won the Nordpool Spa.
It came as no surprise to see We Got The Boss do really well in all of his four subsequent starts in 2019. He went to run second to Holy Romance over 1800 metres 11 days after Derby day, then dropped back to 1600 metres for another win towards the end of September, when he beat Rue d'Argent by 2 lengths to add 31,680 kroner to the 52,200 kroner he picked up on Derby day. With just six runners, this was a different sort of contest, though it had some live contenders nevertheless. Admittedly, Rue d'Argent was a bit of a surprise, but the third placed Izakaya had won the Derby Mile on his previous start and King's Son, who was a well beaten fourth to We Got The Boss, came fresh from a win in the Racing Arena Champion Stakes in Denmark. Again, a race We Got The Boss captured was one that took some winning.
It's impossible two write about We Got The Boss without a mention of his very good riders after he came to Norway - all were of the so called 'weaker sex'. Ulrika Holmquist, who rode him in the Nordpool Spa, Willa Synnøve Schou and Nora Hagelund Holm, a pilot for his second win, all rode him extremely well. A female touch could well have be a crucial factor to his transformation.
He continued in fine form right to the end of the season, finishing third, second and second again before it was all over. His last two outings came on dirt. That he handled the sand was not all that baffling, after all he is a son of US champion sprinter Street Boss, but it is rare to see a horse perform equally well on turf and dirt. Such horses get more options, they make it easier for the trainer to hand pick races for them. If a turf race does not make much appeal, well, then one can take a look at an alternative on the dirt. It's a nice luxury to have. Champagnegaloppen's miler, one of the most genuine and consistent thoroughbreds seen in Norway last term, climbed up from handicap 71 to 80 after moving west, and he meets the new season on demanding terms.
Can he be as successful in 2020? The stiff handicap mark aside, something that also gives his connections well deserved bragging rights, there's no reason to doubt his prospects as a four-year-old. This gelding can certainly win more races. Bred by Keene Ridge Racing in the USA, We Got The Boss comes from a family that has produced durable horses like Majestic Empire, a stakes winner who won 19 of his 50 races and was placed second or third on 13 occasions, and Valid Miss Chain, a nice filly who managed 9 wins and 20 stakes placed efforts from 56 runs before she became a broodmare. These relatives were no superstars, but they kept on winning races as older horses. That's a good omen don't you think? GS 31 Mar 20
Champagnegaloppens 3-year-old won again
We really do have The Boss!
Øvrevoll 25 Sep 2019: Another raceday, another winner!
This time it was We Got The Boss, Champagnegaloppens handsome three-year-old son of US champion sprinter Street Boss, who ended up in the winners circle. Ridden by by Nora Hagelund Holm, he once more lived up to his name, bossing the field through the last two furlongs, to win the mile handicap by 2 lengths from Rue 'Argent. This win was worth 31.680 kroner. A nice addition to the 52,200 kroner he earned when winning on Derby day. Photo: Hesteguiden
We Got The Boss, Captain America
and Unwanted Beauty all in top shape
Øvrevoll 25 Aug 2019: Annike's tremendous run of success continued on Derby day. After three winners on the eve of the big racing feast, her stakes performers produced more excellent results. We Got The Boss (photo: Geir Stabell), owned by Champagnegaloppen, captured the Nordpool Spa Løp, worth 52,200 kroner. Unwanted Beauty, owned by Stall Lillemax, ran second in the prestigious Erik O. Steens Memorial, earning 100,000 kroner, and Espen Ski's top class sprinter Captain America pushed the odds-on favourite Duca di Como all the way to the line in the Polar Cup (G3). His runner-up effort was worth 150,000 kroner, increasing his seasonal earnings to an impressive 431,371 kroner. GS
We Got the Boss, Derby day 25 Aug 2019 Photos: Hesteguiden