Union Rags will be fine
At 2-5 and with legions of supporters, Union Rags was supposed to win the Florida Derby, and anything less than a decisive victory has to be considered a disappointment. But nothing that happened Saturday at Gulfstream Park should give anyone any reason to jump off his bandwagon. Considering the horror trip he had, considering that the real objective is the Kentucky Derby, he was good enough.It was not Julien Leparoux's finest hour. Union Rags got pinned on the inside on the first turn and didn't really get out of the jackpot until the eighth pole. But that was after he got shuffled back, losing ground on his rivals. At some point Leparoux probably should have tried to circle the field. Instead, the jockey hoped to find a seam along the inside, and by the time he got one it was too late. Would he have won with a clean trip? It's impossible to say. But he never had a chance to win. Apparently, Leparoux was stung by some of the criticism he received afterward. " to all the ones that says (sic) that I sucked, I will prove you wrong," he posted on his Twitter account. Leparoux had a bad race. It happens, and, besides, it was not entirely his fault. On El Padrino, Javier Castellano was clearly determined to box in Union Rags for as long as possible. Castellano has also taken some criticism from those who believe he was more intent on getting his old mount, Union Rags, beat than winning aboard El Padrino. That's unfair. When you're going against a 2-5 shot, why not ride to try to beat that horse? In a sense, he accomplished his mission. The only reason Castellano didn't win was because El Padrino didn't have it. El Padrino and Union Rags both move on now with their reputations somewhat tarnished. But Union Rags might even be better off due to the experience. He got an education in adversity in the Florida Derby and he probably learned from it, something that could come in handy in the always rough-and-tumble Kentucky Derby. Barring something spectacular happening in the last few preps, Union Rags will still be the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, and a deserving one. The best horse oftentimes doesn't win the Derby, but Union Rags is still the best horse.
Barring something spectacular happening in the last few preps, Union Rags will still be the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, and a deserving one.
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