Kentucky Derby Results: Union Rags' Choke Job Destroys Momentum for Preakness
Union Rags entered the Kentucky Derby with 9-2 odds, right behind favorite Bodemeister. He was the experts' consensus pick, the logical option—even more so than Bodemeister.
But after a seventh-place finish at Churchill Downs on Saturday, there aren't a lot of people who are going to wager on him in the next big race.
Leading up to the Derby, Union Rags trainer Michael Matz propagated a lot of excuses for the colt. When he wasn't deemed the favorite—that honor went to the horse who finished second and set a record with the five fastest splits in Derby history—his team seemed to take offense.
When pundits questioned Union Rags because of his performances in losses in the past, his trainer scoffed.
Can Union Rags win at the Preakness?
Though Union Rags entered the Derby with three wins in five races, his performances in defeat were, for lack of a better word, awful. In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and in the Florida Derby, he seemed tentative to make his move and couldn't control the field. After Florida, Matz claimed that the field "conspired to hinder the heavy favorite," according to The Baltimore Sun's Chris Korman.
On Saturday at Churchill Downs, there didn't appear to be any conspiracy. It just appeared that Union Rags didn't get off to a good start, had trouble making his move and couldn't separate from the pack down the stretch. It seemed like a miracle that he finished as high as seventh. (You can see the complete results below, as well as the payouts here.)
The naysayers, at this point, appear to be right in questioning Union Rags' ability to commandeer a field stacked with so much talent. His No. 4 post position wasn't ideal, but it doesn't justify the fact that the horse looked terribly overmatched.
And if Union Rags looked overmatched in Louisville, there is no way he's going to somehow emerge as the favorite at the Preakness, a shorter track that is even more well-suited to the two horses that blew him out of the water on Saturday.
|1||I'll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||19||15-1|
|4||Went The Day Well||John Velazquez ||13||30-1|
|5||Creative Cause||Joel Rosario||8||11-1|
|6||Liason||Martin Garcia ||20||56-1|
|7||Union Rags||Julien Leparoux||4||5-1|
|8||Rousing Sermon||Jose Lezcano ||7||40-1|
|9||Hansen||Ramon Dominguez ||14||13-1|
|10||Daddy Nose Best||Garrett Gomez ||10||14-1|
|11||Optimizer||Jon Court ||2||42-1|
Rajiv Maragh ||11||19-1|
|13||El Padrino||Rafael Bejarano ||16||29-1|
|14||Done Talking||Sheldon Russell ||17||39-1|
|15||Sabercat||Corey Nakatani ||18||37-1|
|16||Gemologist||Javier Castellano ||15||18-1|
|17||Trinniberg||Willie Martinez ||19||44-1|
|18||Prospective||Luis Contreras ||12||57-1|
|19||Take Charge Indy||Calvin Borel ||3||11-1|
|20||Daddy Long Legs||Luis Contreras ||12||57-1|
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