At Palm Meadows this morning, Union Rags had his final workout for next Sunday’s $400,000 Grade II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes.
The colt put in a four-furlong gate work in :48.80 (13/40), breezing.
“He did it easy and galloped out fine. He’s ready to go,” Matz said. “Other than running in a race, he’s as ready as he could possibly be.”
Union Rags captured the Grade II Saratoga Special and the Grade I Champagne Stakes last year. He hasn’t run since suffering his first loss in four career starts in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. A wide trip and a green stretch drive fell a head short of catching Hansen.
“We’ve stood him a couple times in the gate. We wanted to pop him out today and we’ll stand him in the gate again on Thursday, and then he should be ready to go,” Matz said. “He’s going to be running against horses that have been racing and he hasn’t raced since November. He’s a big, quiet horse, so I thought a little reminder wouldn’t hurt.”
Union Rags is expected to meet the undefeated Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Algorithms and Discreet Dancer, both of whom are two-time winners at the Gulfstream meeting, in the Fountain of Youth. Julien Leparoux will be aboard Union Rags for the first time, replacing Javier Castellano, who opted to ride Algorithms.
Matz’s longtime assistant Peter Brett was aboard Union Rags Sunday morning, subbing for Leparoux, who rode Daddy Nose Best to victory in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby last night. His return flight wasn’t scheduled to land until 8:15 this morning.
“He said if I wanted to make it at 9:00, he’d try to make it,” said Matz, who decided to go ahead with the workout at 7:00 as planned. “I said, ‘If you want to gallop him, come up any time to gallop him.”
Other Workouts in South Florida Today
Cozzetti breezed four in :49.80 (24/32) at GP.
Currency Swap worked four in :47.00 (2/32) at GP.
Dan and Sheila breezed five in 1:01.40 (9/32) at PMM.
El Padrino breezed four in :48.80 (23/40) at PMM.
Gemologist breezed five in 1:03.80 (29/32) at PMM.
Hansen worked five in :59.00 (1/31) at GP.
Our Entourage breezed four in :48.80 (23/40) at PMM.
--Edited Gulstream Park release with additional content by Dick Downey