Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Getting set for the Derby: Union Rags

In this profile of a Kentucky Derby contender we take a look at Union Rags, who drew the No. 4 post and was listed as the second choice on the morning line for Saturday's 138th edition of the Run for the Roses.

Union Rags was the runner-up to Hansen by just a head after being forced four-wide throughout last year's exciting Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

He should be raring to go after last running way back on March 31, when he finished third behind Take Charge Indy and Reveron in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Union Rags stalked the leaders, but his run after angling out at the sixteenth pole came too late.

Watch that race here:

Union Rags won his three-year-old debut in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in February, easily outdistancing News Pending by nine lengths under a hand ride from jockey Julien Leparoux.

He has four wins, one second and a third in six career starts, including wins in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

Trainer Michael Matz won the 2006 Derby with Barbaro, who broke down in the Preakness Stakes and later died due to complications from his injuries despite unprecedented efforts to save him. He has another strong runner here, and a win could very well be in the cards here for the underrated thoroughbred conditioner. Matz won a silver medal as a member of the U.S. equestrian team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.


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