Race of the Week 2017

Union Rags in Good Company

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile favorite Union Rags came up a head short in his quest to remain unbeaten and to establish himself as the undisputed Two Year Old Champion.  He may well attain that status once voting begins, due to his earlier accomplishments.

UNION RAGS (Dixie Union - Tempo, by Gone West) came up a nose short to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, breaking his three-race winning streak.  The Michael Matz trainee is in good company. In the past ten years, three colts who finished second in the Juvenile progressed the following year to win a Classic race.  Union Rags’ pedigree can hold clues to his Classic aspirations next year.

Union Rags’ sire Dixie Union was a precocious juvenile, winning his maiden at first asking and then the Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Norfolk and Best Pal Stakes. The following year, he won the Haskell and Malibu Stakes. Dixie Union was victorious from 5 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.  Overall, he won 7 of 12 starts and placed 3 times, mainly in Grade 2 and 3 company. The worst finishes in his career came in the BC Juvenile (5th) and Travers Stakes (4th). 

Dixie Union, a son of Dixieland Band and a descendant of the Northern Dancer sire line, retired to stud at the end of his three year old season.  As a sire, Dixie Union’s stakes winners are successful from sprints to middle distances up to 1 1/8 miles.  His son Grasshopper finished second in the Travers at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles, but was never the same afterward, winning only twice in 14 attempts.   The majority of Dixie Union’s progeny are best over dirt, however, Dixie Union does get winners over turf and he is an average Polytrack sire. 

On his distaff side, Union Rags is a full brother to the gelding Geefour whose greatest accomplishment was finishing third in the 5 ½ furlong Le Grande Pos Handicap, a listed stakes at Philly Park. Geefour  was a claiming class runner.  He retired with a 23-4-5-3 record and earned $159,092. Union Rags has six half siblings. None have blacktype status, but the leading money earner amongst them is Miss Pauline, who is currently racing in the claiming ranks at PARX. She has a 29-6-6-6 record and has earned $209,867 the hard way.

There are a number of nice stakes horses that have been produced by Union Rags’ distaff family. His dam Tempo showed promise in her short career, winning twice and placing once in three starts.  She has ten half siblings. The most accomplished on the track is Marry Me Do, a dual stakes winning miler. Tempo is  also  a half-sister to two stakes placed runners, including Grade 2 placed Dancing Devlette, whose progeny include the graded stakes winners Pratella, Satan’s Quick Chick and the listed turf sprinter Satan’s Code.  Union Rags’  second dam Terpsichorist was a stakes winning turf router, victorious from 1 1/16 miles to 1 ½ miles.  Her resume includes victories in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) and Long Island Handicaps (G3).  Union Rags’ third dam Glad Rags was a Champion Two Year Old in Ireland. 

Tempo’s sire Gone West is the damsire of 70 stakes winners, 15 who won at classic distances, mainly over the turf. His daughters have produced three stakes horses that have been successful at 1 ¼ or farther, record-setting grade 1 winner Frost Giant, Japanese Group 2 mare La Verita, and listed winner Kristali. Gone West is currently #14 on the leading broodmare sire list.

The Dixie Union/Gone West bloodline cross has produced 13 foals, 9 starters and 7 winners. Union Rags and his full brother are the only ones with blacktype (stakes wins or placings). 

Union Rags is a large, muscular colt. He has a long stride with good extension, but also has high leg action. Despite being a big horse, Union Rags is very balanced and athletic. He will most certainly mature body wise and develop his talent as a three year old.  Union Rags was very green racing down the lane of the Saratoga Special, ducking out from the left handed whip. Union Rags raced wide in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but was helped by a track favorable to closers. Still, he also bore out in the stretch and was clearly tired at the end of the race.  He should overcome these issues with maturity and experience. 

Distance wise, Union Rags’ pedigree is borderline for Classic races. In the past, we’ve seen talented horses, such as Shackleford and Ruler On Ice overcome their pedigrees.  If Union Rags beats the odds and makes it to the Triple Crown, he may have a legitimate shot of winning or finishing in the top three. If so, he’ll be in the company of Point Given, Afleet Alex and Lookin At Lucky. Good company indeed. 


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Older Comments about Union Rags in Good Company...

how is leaving out of the gate ? like a rocket
too early to tell,gents
There is no question Union Rags was the superior horse to Hansen and I love Hansen.
go Hansen, Go!! Beat Union Rags! I'll take Hansen over Union Rags.. anyday!
The horse carry himself like a champion. Muscle on Muscle, just an amazing horse to look at. @ horseface, that memory will only a short term one, cuz Union Rags is going to be a monster as a 3 year old.
what stands out to me is Hanson beat him in the breeders cup!!!
I was privileged to be able to see Union Rags, Hanson, and Creative Cause run at the Breeders Cup this year. They are all great horses, but there is a presence about Union Rags that just stands out.
I think I finally found other Mary. LOL Hope this guy gets straightened out. No more side trips. He looks great, just don't want to love another spaz. I already have Sway way for that.
Something so interesting and compelling about him, wish the best for him.
Union Rags is one of the most magnificient horses I have ever been up close to. He carries himself like a champion, and you can just tell he has a great mind. I'm not worried about his pedigree like some of the critics out there. Dixie Union was a very game racehorse who battled at distances of 6F- 1 1/8m. He won the Haskell, and Malibu both Grade I races. If all systems go as envisioned, this horse will be very tough to beat leading up to the Kentucky Derby. I haven't seen anything yet besides Hansen or Creative Cause that could challenge Union Rags right now. Although that can all change in the next few weeks as we approach continue down the Kentucky Derby trail.
Love this horse too, I'm hoping he'll be ok with longer distance, is a big question right now.
Union Rags by a Gone West mare, it doesn't get any better as far as his pedigree is concerned. This lovely horse, Union Rags, will be hard to beat as a 3 year old. He is a magnificent looking horse. I love him.

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