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Derby dream was nightmare for Matz, Union Rags

THE UNION RAGS team had dreams of more than the Kentucky Derby. They really thought they might have a horse that could win the Triple Crown.


That dream went away when the stall doors opened for Saturday’s Derby. Instead of, say, getting position and making it into an eight-horse race, with more than half the field behind him, Union Rags, 18th early, was in a 20-horse race and eventually finished seventh.


The team of owner Phyllis Wyeth, trainer Michael Matz and Wyeth adviser Russell Jones met Tuesday at Matz’ Fair Hill, Md., barn and decided that since the Triple Crown is out, the horse could really use more time between races. So they will skip the May 19 Preakness and get Union Rags ready for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.


Top-class horses almost never run races 2 weeks apart, except during the Triple Crown. It was decided that Union Rags could not only use the extra time, but the wide, sweeping turns at Belmont Park would mesh with the colt’s long, powerful strides.

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Older Comments about Derby dream was nightmare for Matz, Union Rags...

Agreed hshfarms that the horse needs a more aggressive rider.
I don't think you'll have to warry about Leparoux riding Union Rags again. As stated in the article, Julien's time with UR is all but guaranteed to be over, and the agents of all the top jockeys are trying to get the mount for their guy. This is a special horse, jockeys know that. He needs an aggresive rider that will get him out of traffic. He has shown ability to over come a lot in races, just not 18th position in the grand-daddy of them all. They said he took so much dirt, its amazing he was able to see.
I have serious reservations weather Leparoux can pilot this horse. Let Alan Garcia have the shot at the Belmont
  • JanicePalmer · Let's just hope UR has not been ruined ( as Phyllis Wyeth said ) by JL the last two times getting UR boxed in at the rail unable to stretch out most of the race??? Have to hope UR doesn't think that's the way they want him to go now. That may cause him to lose interest. Let's hope a new jockey can revive his fire to run by letting him get involved early. · 1294 days ago
Good decision. And get him a jockey who will enable UR to find his stride early, so he won't reach his best stride too late.

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