Working in Maryland over the Fair Hill
artificial surface, Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags completed his major preparations for the Belmont
Stakes by covering five furlongs in 59 seconds flat.
It was the first time John Velazquez, who made the trek south to Fair
Hill for the breeze, had ridden Union Rags.
“I’m glad Johnny [Velazquez] made the effort to come down
and sit on him,” said trainer Michael Matz. “Johnny seemed to like
him and he seemed to do that easy enough.”
“Excellent, man,” added Velazquez after returning to Belmont Park. “Very easy. It was a little
faster than we had planned, but it was very easy. Very impressive. Hopefully, we
can keep him like that for Saturday!”
The last time Union Rags was in New
York he won the Grade 1 Champagne by 5 ¼ lengths. In
the interim, he was second by a nose in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile, first in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, third in the Grade 1 Florida
Derby, and seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.