Union Rags was about impressive as a horse could be yesterday in winning the Champagne Stakes at Belmont. Even a troubled trip couldn’t stop the son of Dixie Union from remaining undefeated in his brief campaign. Big, handsome, mature, full of power and now a multiple graded stakes winner, we could be looking at something very special here.
Owned and bred by the Wyeth family and trained by Michael Matz, the colt was coming off a maiden win at Delaware and a win in the Saratoga Special in the slop. Stretching out to a one turn mile in the Champagne, he beat a nice field by daylight and did it very professionally, despite numerous traffic problems. This should set him up perfectly for the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile next month.
But talk about a learning experience
Chart notes: ( courtesy of BRISNET)
UNION RAGS appeared to shy away from an errant RIGHT TO VOTE at the break, moving inward slightly, went on to settle into midpack, was taken in hand when brushed twice by TAKES THE GOLD midway down the backstretch, was put to some encouragement to improve position on the turn, achieved a good striking position before placed back in hand stuck behind rivals coming to the five-sixteenths pole, was forced to bide time when lacking suitable options for an additional furlong, had thoughts of splitting rivals foes just past the three-sixteenths pole, but after spotting a better opportunity to the outside instead, altered course sharply towards there for full clearance, took off with sudden speed once the maneuver was completed, shot past by the leader a short distance from the eighth pole and kicked well clear of the competition, finishing the race being hand urged.
Just one of these situations could discourage a young horse, but Union Rags took it all in stride.
This was THE performance of the day for me. Take a look.