by Jarrod Horak
Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with Union Rags.
Union Rags’s late sire Dixie
Union (by Dixieland Band) won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee
Brew. He also captured the G1 Malibu in his final career start and sired 39
stakes winners from his first eight crops including Gone Astray and Grasshopper.
Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.
Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland
Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first
started following racing in the early 1980's. Dixieland Band won the G2
Pennsylvania Derby and G2 Mass ‘Cap. He also competed in the 1983 Belmont
Stakes and finished 14th.
Dixie Union’s dam She’s Tops (by Capote) won 4 of 18
starts including the G2 Railbird. Her sire Capote won the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile in 1986 and his sire Seattle Slew captured the Triple Crown in 1977.
Union Rags’s dam Tempo (by Gone West) raced three times,
winning her first two starts at six furlongs and finishing 2nd at a flat mile
in her career finale for trainer Bill Mott. Her winning Rahy daughter Tempo
West is responsible for 2-time overseas ten furlong winner Vertiformer (by
Tempo’s sire Gone West (by
Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 1987, making waves in the
Hutcheson (2nd), Fountain of Youth (3rd), Gotham (1st), Wood Memorial
(2nd), Withers (1st), and Peter Pan (2nd), before finishing 6th in the Belmont
Stakes. The late Gone West sired his 100th stakes winner earlier this year.
Tempo’s Virginia-bred dam Terpsichorist
(by Nijinsky II) was a long distance turf specialist in the late 1970's,
winning races like New York’s Long Island and Sheepshead Bay Handicaps.
Digging deeper, Terpsichorist’s sire
Nijinsky II (by
Northern Dancer) could run all day and the late, great European champion
captured the English Triple Crown in 1970. He sired well over a hundred stakes
winners including the likes of French champion Caerleon and 1986 Kentucky Derby
Terpsichorist’s dam Glad Rags-GB (by High Hat-GB) was the
1965 Champion 2-year-old filly in Ireland.
If Union Rags is going to find added
stamina, it will most likely come from the female side of his pedigree and
Terpsichorist in particular.
Although his pedigree is less than
ideal for twelve furlongs, Union Rags has the right running style and proper
energy distribution to handle the Test of Champions. He earned strong Late Pace
Ratings in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby and quality conditioner
Michael Matz should have him primed for his best effort at Belmont Park on June