Racing News

Union Rags gets in work at Keeneland

  • Union Rags (Keeneland/Coady Photography)

Rather than worry about the prospects of a cold, damp weekend in Kentucky, trainer Michael Matz opted to work Kentucky Derby contender Union Rags on Friday morning at Keeneland.

The millionaire son of Dixie Union responded with a half-mile work in :47 2/5 under regular exercise rider Peter Brette. Working on his own, Union Rags posted fractions of :12, :24, :35 4/5 and out five furlongs in 1:00 and six furlongs in 1:15.

"I thought he went well," Matz said. "It was nothing spectacular, but he did it nice and galloped out fine. He was doing a two-minute lick before he got to the half-mile pole. It was a good work and we will ask more of him in his next work."

That next work would come at Churchill Downs next Saturday or Sunday depending on weather according to Matz, who said Union Rags would ship to Louisville most likely after the middle of next week.

Matz, who gave his 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, some pre-Derby training at Keeneland, was glad to get the work accomplished under sunny skies and 60-degree temperatures.

"If it gets cold and damp as is predicted, he will be right here in this barn in the morning," Matz said.

In other Kentucky Derby news:

At Palm Meadows on Friday, unbeaten Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes star Gemologist turned five-eighths Friday in 1:00 4/5 over Palm Meadows fast dirt. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Tiznow is headed to the Derby in two weeks.

Fellow Derby hopeful and Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes victor El Padrino, fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last out, negotiated five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Palm Meadows.

Grade 3 Spiral winner Went the Day Well is scheduled to work at Keeneland Saturday morning. Dave Rock, assistant to trainer Graham Motion, said the work would take place around 8:30 (EDT).