Following in the hoofsteps of Lane’s End-sired Classic winners like CURLIN, LEMON DROP KID, Lookin At Lucky, Bernardini, Rags to Riches, Charismatic and Thunder Gulch, the brilliant 3-year-old colt Union Rags struck a blow for his late sire DIXIE UNION with a hugely impressive, redemptive victory in Saturday’s G1 Belmont S.
Winner of last year’s G1 Champagne S. and G2 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special S. and hero of the G2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. earlier this season, Union Rags nonetheless still had some doubters after a hard-luck off-the-board finish as the favorite in the G1 Kentucky
Derby. But after skipping the middle leg of the Triple Crown, Phyllis Wyeth’s colt put to rest any notion he wasn’t a superbly talented colt. In the test of the Champion, the Michael Matz-trained bay stalked off Paynter’s pace, gamely drove through a narrow opening in the final
eighth and sealed the deal with his ears pricked shortly after the wire.
“We always thought this horse had Triple Crown potential,” said the usually reticent trainer Michael Matz, who said Union Rags might appear next in the G1 Haskell Invitational or G2 Jim Dandy S.
In other stakes action on the weekend, LEMON DROP KID’s multiple Grade 1-winning son Richard’s Kid made a triumphant return to the U.S. when he dominated the 1 3/8-mile Prove It S. at Betfair Hollywood Park by 7 1/4 lengths. Also at Hollywood, ROCK HARD TEN’s Utopian, a $360,000 Lane’s End sales grad, ran third in the G1 Charles Whittingham Memorial H., while CITY ZIP’s Get Serious himself ran a game third to a pair of Grade 1 winners in Data Link and Get Stormy in the G2 Monmouth S. SAINT LIAM’s Upgrade, a $170,000 Lane’s End sales grad, won the G3 Jaipur S., with LANGFUHR’s Yield Bogey in third. A.P. INDY’s Eldaafer ran second in the G2 Brooklyn H., a race in which the winner, Redeemed, was produced by the PLEASANT TAP mare Early Mass.
Congrats to all on the big weekend!