Race of the Week 2017

Union Rags Retired

Union Rags became a potential Kentucky Derby horse during the 2011 Saratoga meet. As the 2012 Saratoga meet opened Friday, Union Rags’ owner Phyllis Wyeth made the decision to retire her Belmont Stakes winner.

While preparing the colt for the July 29 Haskell Invitational, trainer Michael Matz noticed a leg issue. It was quickly determined there was a ligament problem that would require months of rest. So, Union Rags was declared out for the balance of the 2012 season. Now, the big colt is gone forever, his owner searching for a stallion deal with one of the major Kentucky farms.

"No decision has been reached on that," Wyeth’s advisor Russell Jones said. "This is the right time of the year to be talking to these guys so she wants to have the word out there that we’re moving ahead, that the decision has been made."

Matz was really hoping the colt would come back and run in 2013. Not going to happen. Union Rags may have been able to make it back in top form, but there was no guarantee.


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Older Comments about Union Rags Retired...

what sucks is this was the best crop of 3 year olds i can remember in 20 years, and they keep being retired and injured.
utterly disappointing. I don't think we ever truly got to see what this horse could do. I thought Wyeth was a different type of owner, and wouldn't pull the "more money in the breeding shed" stunt. There are plenty of horses than run well past three years old.
  • UnionRagsRules · I agree and disagree. If you don't have a horse that 100% for sure, why put wear and tear on him? I think it was a good idea for him to retire. It is a pity though. · 1948 days ago
somebody of fb said that this horse was overrated, despite being belmont winner. i couldn't disagree more. he's a very good horse that had a short successful career.
If I'll Have Another who won the Ky Derby and Preakness ended up in Japan due to lack of good $$$ offers so what makes them think that UR will end up in Kentucky unless they settle for a very low offer to stand him at stud or sell him very cheap for stud duty because the money is just not there in the US today, all the big money is overseas, most likely thats where Union Rags will end up, overseas
  • kay.robinett · It might help Union Rags get a good deal in the US in that his sire is deceased with no outstanding sire sons (as yet) to follow in his hoofprints. I'll Have Another had his very young sire and relatively young grandsire both standing stud in Kentucky. · 1950 days ago
  • UnionRagsRules · let's see. he'll stay here because Phyllis wants him to stay and its her desicion. She also has pride, and she's not greedy. · 1948 days ago
How do those stats compare with other triple crowns from around the world I wonder? Do there winners continue to run?
  • kay.robinett · sadly, some champions overseas are retired to the breeding shed far too early as well. The great Sea the Stars was retired to the shed at the end of his three year old season over in Europe, still sound and healthy. · 1950 days ago
For all of you younger race fans the last ten years have been VERY frustrating to get behind a good 3 YO. Let's look at the last ten KY Derby winners- only three went past their 3 YO campaigns: Mine That Bird, Giacomo uneventful brief 4 YO campaigns, Funny Cide did well, but as a gelding- easy decision. Kay & Buckpasser are correct, you will have very few horses to watch year over year. Pity !!
  • kay.robinett · Lets all just hope and pray that if we ever get another Triple Crown winner it will be a filly or a gelding because unless he belongs to an exceptional owner like the late Jess Jackson (who brought back Curlin as a 4YO) or Team Valor (who is at least willing to try to bring back Animal Kingdom) we will never see a Triple Crown winning colt run in another race after the Belmont - an intact colt would bring in too much money in the breeding shed! · 1950 days ago
Looks like Rags will be going to a domestic buyer! Mrs. Wyeth wants him to stay where she can find him. Think they will probably be able to find a pretty lucrative deal in Kentucky. Besides his good looks and pedigree, he is the best son of Dixie Union and his only son to win at 12f. He is one of a very few in recent memory who as a precocious two-year old, won the Champagne and then came back at three to take the Belmont Stakes. Add to that his quality wins at distances ranging from 5 1/2f to 12f and you have a very appealing stud prospect indeed.
First race winners I mean..
Yes, I feel bad for Matz. Sounds like the owner kept him completely out of the loop when it came to the retirement decision.
Looks like this decision may have caught Matz by surprise. A few days ago he was giving an interview with someone from TVG and said UR was coming back as a 4 yr old
I suspected this would happen. Still disappointed, though.
Rafirox you are very accurate about this crop. I had such high hopes for them particularly when so many were around for the TC races
I don't think this surprised anyone, but Tim is right, racing must find a way to encourage owners to race their horses and not send them early to the farm. One way would be to move the big money races from 2 and 3 year old races to races for older horses. But nothing is going to happen until racing has a single ruling authority, a commissioner, like every other major sport in the country.
stop breeding thoroughbreds made out of spun glass and this won't keep happening
  • Junebug719 · This retiring too early is horse crap! Something has to be done.. better horses, better owners,, not just buck chasers! · 1951 days ago
Yep, Tim, I mean the full Triple Crown.
Fisrt week I meant
The derby is May 1
I really hope the new Kentucky Derby points system helps with this. In order to make it to the big race, there will be a far reduced emphasis on top form in sept-nov of their 2 year old season with hopes it lasts through June.
Then you had Secretariats retirement at three and we went down hill from there
Absolutely right Kay. You sell yearlings for millions and millions for breeding rights, no surprise. Years ago the Bluebloods kept this in check because the horses they raced went to their breeding farms and it was laughed at to pay a lot for yearlings. Changes came when Frank McMahon bought Majestic Prince for a world recod and then his full brother the next year for another record. After that there was no stopping the amounts for yearlings

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