Union Rags, the winner of last
month’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, was retired this weekend because of a
tendon injury in his left foreleg.
Bred and owned by Phyllis Wyeth, the Dixie Union colt first gained
attention last year at Saratoga when he won the
Grade 2 Saratoga Special following a victorious debut at Delaware Park.
He subsequently went on to capture the prestigious Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park by 5 ¼ lengths and was beaten a
head by Hansen after a troubled trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
As a 3-year-old, Union Rags, trained by Michael Matz, won the Grade 2
Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream
Park, was third in the Grade
1 Florida Derby and seventh in the Kentucky Derby after being squeezed at the
Rather than go on to the Preakness Stakes, Matz opted to await the 1
½-mile “Test of the Champion.” His decision paid off as the colt,
under rider John Velazquez, wore down leader Paynter with a long stretch drive
to take the third leg of racing’s Triple Crown.
“I think that he’s a pretty attractive stallion prospect
– Champagne winner as a 2-year-old, Belmont
winner as a 3-year-old – and that’s not something that happens
every year,” said Russell Jones, bloodstock adviser to Wyeth.
“There is a general, high level of interest in the horse since we made
While the decision of where Union Rags will stand as a stallion
hasn’t been made, Jones said Wyeth prefers the horse remain in the
“She really doesn’t want him to go overseas,” Jones
said. “We’ve taken a number of potential buyers out of play. It
will be restricted to the domestic market. It’s a love affair she had
with this horse, and she doesn’t want him to go somewhere where she
can’t find him.”
While Matz lost his prime 3-year-old, he retains Teeth of the Dog, winner of the Easy Goer
Stakes on June 9 at Belmont
Park and the Grade 2
Dwyer at the track 21 days later.
Teeth of the Dog, a son of Bluegrass Cat, is on course for a start in
the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race on July 28 at the Spa.
The race is a key prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on August 25.
“He’ll go in the Jim Dandy or Haskell,” Matz said.
“He’ll do one of those two and it’s probably the Jim Dandy.
He worked five furlongs in 1:02 this morning and did it very nicely, and
he’ll probably ship in this week.”