It was announced today that the 2012 Belmont Stakes winner, Union Rags, is to be retired from racing.
Dick Jerardi first reported that owner Phyllis Wyeth made the decision to retire the three-year-old multiple stakes winner after a lesion was discovered in his suspensory ligament, apparently suffered while breezing at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. According to a veterinarian, Union Rags was "100 percent sound" following the workout and it was not until later that the injury was discovered via ultrasound.
Russell Jones, a bloodstock adviser to Wyeth said the owner "...wants to have the word out there that we're moving ahead," as breeding agents are scouting new stallion candidates.
According to Jones, a decision has yet to be made as far as Rags' stud career is concerned. The Wyeth adviser did proclaim that the horse's owner "...made the decision to go forward with this decision for the rest of his life.”
The retirement of the Florida-bred colt marks the second surprise retirement of this year's Triple Crown competitors. The famous retirement of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another still hangs over the racing world like an overcast sky.
Aside from retirement, Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister was preemptively scratched from his first start since the Triple Crown in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational due to temperature.
Union Rags amassed a winnings total of $1,780,800 in eight career starts, a winner of five races. The colt had signature wins in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes as a juvenile. A favorite in weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby, the Michael Matz-trainee finished a disappointing seventh, skipped the Preakness Stakes and redeemed himself in a highlight win in the Belmont Stakes.