The FOB legions of fans likely will glob onto this horse because of the Michael Matz training connection, but that cult aside this is a rather impressive runner!
We enjoyed seeing him at Saratoga and then today in the Grade 1 $300k Champagne Stakes at Belmont (Oct 8, 2011) he powered past the field, after being bottled up, and then kept going - to a 5 3/4 lengths victory.
I thought he showed some grit with the changes in direction and general jostling. He obviously has talent. Here is hoping he stays on track and continues to improve. Glimmer how to you think he stacks up with the grey horse who just ran such a big race, who's name escapes me at the moment?
Hard to compare as they have two very different styles - front runner vs. what appears with Union Rags a bit of a stalker. Union Rags might have the advantage when it comes to the BC JV in that he's eaten with ease the dirt (vs. only synthetic running for Hansen), the competition a bit tougher for UR and as we saw in the Champagne Stakes UR proved he could overcome a challenge like traffic. That latter at age 2 is no small feat and can indeed a test of a horse's mettle with common woes to face in racing.
Hansen, by dashing to the lead, has thus far avoided any traffic woes and pretty much has dictated the terms by which the rest of the field just has to deal with.
Union Rags will likely be favored in the Juvenile based on his 3-for-3 record and the manner in which he won the Champagne. Caught in traffic down the backside and again approaching the stretch and having to alter course at the three-sixteenths pole, Union Rags powered home to win by 5 1/4 lengths. He ran a mile in 1:35.55 -.33 of a seconds slower than My Miss Aurelia’s winning time for the Grade 1 Frizette and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.
I'm sure some will think I'm a "poop" but its time to move on w/ respect to Barbaro/Michael Matz. Its been crazy watching the waiting and hoping w/ each brother; now any connection to MM is the same thing...Like waiting for the second coming. I hope MM does well w/ the colt and that we see more of him in the big races; he seems a fighter for sure.
I don't think the FOB's will detract too much from enjoying Union Rags if he continues on to be an exciting racehorse to watch. I happen to like Matz, when I was a junior rider he was very gracious with his time and energy to horse crazy kids such as myself. While I realize this has zero to do with his gifts or lack thereof as a racehorse trainer, I do wish him all the success in the world, and a chance to move on from the whole Barbaro thing. Thanks for the response Glimmer, you always provide such cool insights.