Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags will miss the rest of the 2012 racing season, but his prognosis for returning next year is excellent, veterinarian Kathy Anderson said Wednesday,
Union Rags, trained by Michael Matz and owned by Chadds Ford Stable, will undergo therapy and treatment for a small lesion on his high suspensory ligament, which likely occurred during his most recent work.
Union Rags is five of eight with $1,798,800 in earnings according to Equibase.
The son of Dixie Union appeared to be getting back on track with his emphatic victory over a tough Paynter in the mile-and-a-half challenge. He was being pointed to the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and a possible matchup against Bob Baffert’s Bodemeister.
After reeling off three straight wins to start his career – including the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special Stakes and the Grade 1 Champagne – he lost by a head to eventual Eclipse Award winner Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to close out his 2-year-old season.
After some time off, Union Rags returned for the Fountain of Youth a bigger, stronger athlete. The Kentucky-bred dispatched his competition with ease, winning by four lengths and announcing himself as a serious contender at three.
The colt encountered some trouble on the Triple Crown trail, however, with a third place finish in the Florida Derby. He endured a bumpy start and a crowded first turn en route to a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
Matz elected to skip the Preakness Stakes and gave Union Rags some time off to rest at Fair Hill in Maryland before his Belmont test.