Week In Review and Notable Performer: 8/8 - 8/15

Union Rags was a shoe-in CTD Notable Performer based on his splashy graded stakes win at Saratoga Monday, plus two other previous NPs Hogy and Twelve Hundred added stakes wins to their resumes over the weekend…

Graded Stakes Review

Saratoga Special S. (G2)
Winner: Union Rags
Trainer: Michael Matz
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Chart: Equibase
Video: YouTube
Beyer/Bris Speed: 95/101
Wrap-up Articles: Bloodhorse / DRF / Brisnet / TTimes / Saratogian / NYRA

The setup was not spectacular with a short field, extremely sloppy track, and no buzz horse in the mix.  However, the Saratoga Special on Monday unfolded in spectacular fashion.  Union Rags, set off at a modest 5-1 odds, joined the favorite Stat in setting a blistering quarter in 21.78 and half mile in 45.55.  Unbelievably, those two were never challenged with Union Rags eventually separating himself for a triumphant, if eventful, 7 1/4 length victory. The colt did dart towards the stands in the stretch, but was able to straighten out before hitting the wire.

Jockey Javier Castellano sung praises by mentioning Union Rags in the same breath as phenomenal champions Ghostzapper and Bernardini, whom he also rode.  The usually stoic and understated Kentucky Derby winning trainer Michael Matz also showed enthusiasm by admitting “I’m really excited about him”. 

Union Rags, an eventual $390,000 purchase, is by Dixie Union who was also a promising 2-year-old when establishing himself as the leading juvenile in the West in 1999.  Injured when finishing 5th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile he would skip the Derby trail and end up winning the 9 furlong Haskell Invitational.  Dixie Union has sired multiple stakes winners at various distances and surfaces.

On the dam side, Union Rags is by the winning Gone West mare Tempo, who produced a stakes placed runner.  Looking deeper, the second dam suggests he could like added distance as she won up to 11 furlongs.  Both sides of Union Rags’ pedigree suggest he would like mud, which was proven Monday.  His full catalog page can be viewed here.

Matz says they will skip the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and most likely aim for the Champagne (G1) at Belmont October 8th.

Notable Performances:

Union Rags (see above)

Bay Park Boy
8/13/11 Saratoga Maiden Special Weight
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Chart: Equibase
Beyer/Bris Speed: 88/102

Don’t worry, it kind of annoys me too, but we have another juvenile to watch from the Todd Pletcher barn. Bay Park Boy took to the off track last Monday and proved much the best against a small group of 2-year-olds.  Quickly taking the lead alongside Panthro, Bay Park Boy continually extended his line all the way to the finish for a 4 3/4 length win.

Sired by a Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and Kentucky Derby participant (Johannesburg), Bay Park Boy’s dam was a stakes placed runner out of the legendary Seattle Slew.  She’s also a full sister to stakes placed Seattle Glory (8.5 furlongs).

2YO Non-Graded Stakes Results:
8/13/11 Sales S.- NP- Winner: Golden Cup- chart
8/13/11 Lafayette S.- EVD- Winner: Indian Assault- chart
8/13/11 Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile- PRM- Winner: Twelve Hundred- NP- chart
8/14/11 Brian Barenscheer Juvenile S.- CBY- Winner: Hogy- NP- chart
8/14/11 Cavonnier S- SR- Winner: Longview Drive- chart

8/08/11 Majestic City DMR- 5F- 1.01:60- H- 35/46
8/09/11 Power World SAR- 4F- 49:54- B- 19/44
8/11/11 Secret Circle DMR- 6F- 1.14:60- H- 12/16
8/12/11 Thursby FH- 5F- 1.01:00- B- 3/8
8/13/11 Jack's in the Deck LRL- 4F- 53:00- B- 52/52
8/14/11 Majestic City DMR- 5F- 59:40- H- 2/65

Other News:
Early contenders by bloodlines (Horse Racing Fantasy)

Top 2YO Speed Figures*:
Top winning BRIS figs last week: Bay Park Boy-102; Jagati-98; Vexor-98; Hogy-92; Clip The Coupons-92; So Tough-92; Senor Rain-91

Winning Beyers last week: Bay Park Boy-88; Jagati-82; Vexor-80; Hogy-68; Clip The Coupons-82; So Tough-73; Senor Rain-72

*Source: DerbyContenders Twitter

2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile: Scores and Odds
2012 Kentucky Derby: GoHorseBetting