Belmont Stakes Winner Union Rags Hurt, out for the Remainder of the Year

Carlos TorresContributor IJuly 11, 2012

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08:  Belmont entrant Union Rags waits to be bathed during morning workouts in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

According to a report on, Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags sustained a minor tendon injury in his left front leg and will miss the remainder of the 2012 racing season.

This was confirmed by Russell Jones, a close, longtime bloodstock advisor to the colt's owner and breeder Phyllis Wyeth and her Chadds Ford Stable.

Jones assisted the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale in Lexington, KY on Tuesday, and said he heard the news from Union Rags trainer Michael Matz. He also said that veterinarian Dr. Kathy Anderson will provide a statement describing further details about the injury from the Fair Hill training center in Maryland this morning.

Depending on the injury, this could lead to a retirement from racing for the colt. This would be devastating for the three-year-old division who lost its biggest star, I'll Have Another, to injury the day before the Belmont Stakes.

Union Rags' rise to prominence started last year when he won the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special (G2) and later went on to capture the Champagne Stakes (G1) in an eye-popping performance.

He then finished second by a head to Hansen in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and lost the Eclipse Award to him for the best two-year-old.

This year, he started by winning with ease at the Fountain of Youth (G2) and then finished third in the Florida Derby (G1).

He followed that by a troubled seventh-place finish at the Kentucky Derby (G1). This prompted a jockey change from Julien Leparoux to John Velazquez who rode him to a thrilling, rail-skimming victory over Paynter at the Belmont Stakes (G1).

This is very unfortunate for Union Rags who was being pointed to the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) on July 29 at Monmouth Park and had breezed twice at Fair Hill since his Belmont victory, most recently covering five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 on July 6.

Union Rags is by Dixie Union out of the Gone West mare Tempo and was bred in Kentucky. He has a career record of five wins, one second place and one third place in eight career starts while earning $1,798,800.