Race of the Week 2017

Union Rags Splashes Home in Saratoga Special

Union Rags put away favored Stat at the top of the stretch and splashed his way to a 7 ¼-length victory in Monday afternoon's Grade 2, $150,000 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course.

The victory - his second straight in as many starts - earned Union Rags' owner a bonus of $200,000 as the colt became the first juvenile purchased at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling sales to win a graded stakes at Saratoga.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Union Rags hugged the rail while vying with Stat, Indian Evening and Trinniberg through an opening quarter-mile in 21.78 and a half in 45.55 over the sloppy track. Shaking free of all but Stat on the far turn, the Dixie Union colt outfooted the favorite once straightened for home, drawing off despite veering out into the middle of the track.

His winning time was 1:18.33 for the 6 ½ furlongs over the sloppy track.

"He proved he is a good horse, and I'm really excited about him," said trainer Michael Matz. "Phyllis [Wyeth], the owner, is a great person. She has had a lot of horses for me, and she told me that one day she would get me a good one. Hopefully we have it."

"[The owner] told me that one day she would get me a good one. Hopefully we have it."

Owned by Wyeth's Chadds Ford Stable, Union Rags made his debut at Delaware Park on July 12, rallying from seventh to post a 1 ¾-length victory, going five furlongs in 58.25. Coming north to Saratoga earlier this month from Matz's Fair Hill training center, he tuned up for the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special with a half-mile work in 47.66 on August 9, the fastest of 44 at the distance.

"He's an unbelievable horse," said Castellano. "I got a phone call last week from my agent; he wanted me to work some horses on Tuesday. Jockeys usually take off on Tuesdays since we race six days a week, but I'm so glad he did that to me. When I showed up and worked the horse in the morning, it was unbelievable. I've never worked a horse like that and I've been very fortunate to ride horses like Ghostzapper and Bernardini."

The 3-1 third choice in the field of six, Union Rags returned $8.50 for a $2 win bet and with the total purse, including the bonus, of $290,000 has now earned $318,800.

Stat, the 8-5 favorite, finished three lengths in front of Indian Evening, who in turn was followed by Banner Bill, Trinniberg, and Italo.

Matz said he had no spot picked out for Union Rags' next start.

"We'll get him back at the barn and see what we look like, speak with the owners and see what we want to do," he said. "Obviously our main goal is for next year, but we'll just have to see how he is and look for something in about a month or five weeks."



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Older Comments about Union Rags Splashes Home in Saratoga Special...

Gotta love a colt that can be a spaz like that and still win. And in the slop, Plus he's very good-looking.
keep an eye on this one down the road, Matz will take his time to let him develop. Much the best in the slop but re-broke after drifting out and running greenly to finish up really well. His gallop out showed me he will go long as well.

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