Union Rags Headed for Riches

It was an exciting day at Belmont Park this past Saturday (8 October 2011), with an unforgettable performance by Union Rags in the Champagne Stakes. The talented 2-year-old colt won the stakes race in spectacular fashion and is now headed for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he is likely to be the favorite. Union Rags’ victory on Saturday has also set him on course for the Kentucky Derby in 2012.

Union Rags is owned by Phyllis Wyeth of Chester County, wife of well-known artist Jamie Wyeth. He is trained by Barbaro trainer Michael Matz and stabled at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Sired by Dixie Union, this young colt won his first race in July at Delaware Park. In August he claimed the win in the Grade II Three Chimneys Saratoga Special, taking the victory by 7 ¼ lengths. Thus far he has brought in earnings of $498,000.

Ridden by jockey Javier Castellano on Saturday, Union Rags found himself trapped between the other contenders along the backstretch. The team was left waiting for room on the turn, but was caught behind other horses for another 200 yards. On the home stretch Castellano eventually set Union Rags on the outside and was able to make a clear run. The eager colt burst forth with energy taking on the final 200 yards with gusto and winning the race impressively by 5 ¼ lengths. He was followed in by Alpha in second place and Right to Vote in third.

With a perfect 3-for-3 career thus far, there are high hopes for Union Rags when he runs the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on 5 November 2011. The 2-year-old showed that he was not overwhelmed by the race, eating well after the race. Should things go well at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Matz will likely send Union Rags on to Florida in preparation for the Kentucky Derby trail.

Also run at Belmont Park on Saturday was the Frizette Stakes, where the Steve Asmussen trained filly My Miss Aurelia beat the field by 5 ½ lengths, earning her a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Asmussen also enjoyed three other wins on the day with Corey Nakatani in the jockey's seat. Nakatani is the third jockey in the history of Belmont to take the victory in six races on one card.

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