Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Union Rags returns to worktab
Union Rags recorded his first official workout since capturing the June 9 Belmont Stakes when breezing four furlongs Tuesday in :49 1/5 over the fast dirt track at Fair Hill. It was the fifth-fastest of 15 moves at the distance.
Following Union Rags' game neck score over Paynter in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, trainer Michael Matz indicated that he would point the son of Dixie Union toward the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 28, but the well-respected conditioner recently stated that the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park a day later is more likely.
"I will have to make a decision," Matz said. "I would imagine, though, that if you are trying to be the three-year-old champion, you have to run in the Grade 1 races and that would be the Haskell."
Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister is also pointing to the 1 1/8-mile Haskell along with Grade 1 winner and Kentucky Derby third-placer Dullahan.
Union Rags established himself as a top two-year-old with convincing wins in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Saratoga Special, but a head second to Hansen in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile cost him championship honors last season. The bay colt opened 2012 with a four-length romp in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, but experienced troubled trips when third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and seventh in the Kentucky Derby.
He improved his overall mark to 8-5-1-1, $1,798,800, when rebounding in the Belmont Stakes.