Union Rags was among the favorites at the Breeders' Cup. He came up short as Hansen scored the run away victory among the juveniles. Michael Matz, the trainer of Union Rags who also handled Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro five years ago, seemed disappointed in Union Rags poor showing but offered this:
“He fought the whole way and tried hard,” he said. “It’s one of those things, I wish I had an answer for you. It’s disappointing, that’s for sure, but I guess that’s horse racing.”
Hansen really left no doubt as he took control from the beginning. This loss shows me Union Rags will wilt when matched against other top juveniles. It was his first loss in his last four starts, but the way he was blown away doesn't make his prospects good for the Derby.
Union Rags ran a very inconsistent race. He allowed Hansen and the rest of the field to force him wide the majority of the race. He attempted a strong run down the final stretch but had fallen too far off the pace and out of position.
His lack of aggression and consistency are the main factors that will prevent him from rising to the occasion, come May 2012. He came into the Breeders' Cup at impressive 6-5 odds, and he will likely be the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
As we saw on Saturday, the odds don't run the race.