12/14/2007 12:00AM

Lady Gamer makes case for Hansen's stable

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Clark Hansen retired from practicing law in June, but he did not retire from his casework. He just switched subjects.

Instead of dealing with law books, Hansen has thrown his energy into Thoroughbred breeding, studying bloodlines and matings for the six broodmares he owns with his wife, Janine.

Judging by the success of the couple's California-bred horses this year, Hansen is winning the case.

Last Sunday, their filly Lady Gamer won her second stakes of 2007 in the $83,985 Playa del Rey Stakes at Hollywood Park. In the preceding race, the Hansens watched Rare Exchange, another of their 4-year-old fillies, run a game second in a first-condition allowance race in open company. Earlier this year, Rare Exchange won the Magali Farms Stakes on the California Gold Rush program.

"I just retired from the active practice of law in June of this year," Hansen said earlier this week. "I intend to do it part-time next year. I decided to take some time off and spend time off researching the breeding.

"I get my thrills from picking a good stud that will be a good nick for the mare before that stud starts costing a lot of money. I like to get them early."

Both Lady Gamer and Rare Exchange were bred by the Hansens and eventually will be retired as broodmares. The Hansens keep their mares at Special T Thoroughbreds in Temecula, Calif., traveling from their home in Spring Valley Lake, Calif., a few times a month to check on them.

Clark Hansen was a Thoroughbred breeder before he married Janine in the early 1990s. One of their first successful horses was The Mouthpiece, who earned $103,971. The Mouthpiece is out of Mama Negra, who produced Raise A. Daisy, the dam of Rare Exchange, and Mariah Reyna, the dam of Lady Gamer.

In keeping with his philosophy of selecting young stallions, Hansen chose Benchmark for Raise A. Daisy in 2002, a time when Benchmark had yet to take his current position as a leading California stallion.

In recent seasons, the Hansens have chosen California stallions Decarchy, Redattore, and Uncle Denny for their mares.

The Hansens have a yearling half-brother to Rare Exchange by Decarchy, whose oldest foals are 2-year-olds this year. Raise A. Daisy is in foal to Uncle Denny, whose first foals arrive next year. In 2008, Raise A. Daisy is scheduled to be bred to Redattore, whose first foals are 2-year-old this year.

Mariah Reyna will be bred to Decarchy in 2008, Clark Hansen said.

"I'm always shopping for a good deal," he said.

Lady Gamer is by far the leading runner in the stable. By Game Plan, she has won 5 of 12 starts and $292,115. Since the start of synthetic-track racing in California in November 2006, Lady Gamer has taken to such surfaces, winning 4 of 5 starts. The loss was a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar in August.

Proving that she is not just a synthetic-track wonder, Lady Gamer ran second in two stakes on Santa Anita's hillside turf course during the Oak Tree meeting this fall - the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap on Sept. 26 and the California Cup Distaff on Nov. 3.

"She wants to win, and that is all there is to it," Janine Hansen said. "We gave her a rest last year because she was getting tired. She didn't really like that. She couldn't wait to get back to the track."

The $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita on Jan. 26 is trainer John Sadler's next goal for Lady Gamer. It will be her toughest test since she chased Grade 1 winner River's Prayer in the Rancho Bernardo.

"What makes her notable is her heart," Clark Hansen said. "Talking with John Sadler last week, we're all agreed that she's coming into her own."