The question didn’t have to be asked. Just listening to Michael Matz
talk about the seventh-place finish by Union Rags in the Kentucky Derby
it was easy to tell the trainer hasn’t gotten over the disappointment
Tuesday morning, with showers alternating between heavy and heavier
at the Fair Hill Training Center where he is based, Matz discussed the
frustrations over having a horse primed and ready for the biggest race
of his life only to have it lost two jumps out of the gate.
For Union Rags, the Derby was over at the start. Under Julien
Leparoux, Union Rags broke a step to the right, was bumped hard by
Dullahan and was pinched back. Coming under the wire the first time,
Union Rags was 18th in the 20-horse field. He ultimately rallied to
finish seventh, beaten 7 1/2 lengths by I’ll Have Another. Union Rags
was the 5-1 second choice.
“I woke up the next day and I thought it was a nightmare,” Matz said.