Union Rags Choice in Contentious Juvenile
Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags is favored to remain undefeated and seal the 2-year-old championship in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. But Union Rags will face 12 others in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, and many appear to have an upset shot.
Union Rags, a Dixie Union colt trained by Michael Matz, drew post 10 for his first start around two turns. In his last start Oct. 8 he easily won the one-mile Champagne Stakes (gr. I) around one turn at Belmont Park.
Matz said Union Rags is “versatile enough” to handle an outside post, and that jockey Javier Castellano should be able to put the colt into position given his quickness. “He probably has enough speed that he can tuck himself in someplace coming to the first turn,” the trainer said.
California invader Creative Cause , owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington, won the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk Stakes Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park in his first start around two turns. He was near or on the lead throughout in the Norfolk and appears well-positioned from post 7 in the Juvenile under Joel Rosario.
Creative Cause, by Giant's Causeway , is the 7-2 second choice in the morning line.
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman’s Drill , trained by Bob Baffert, drew post 4 under Martin Garcia at 8-1. Drill, by Lawyer Ron, finished second in the Norfolk in his first start on dirt and first around two turns, and previously showed late energy in one-turn Polytrack races at Del Mar.
Baffert said it’s all about the start for Drill, who has been training smartly on the dirt at Santa Anita.
“You can have a great post, but if you don’t break well you’re disadvantaged,” Baffert said. “With Drill, I think if he gets out there and gets in the race early, he might be pretty effective.”
Dr. Kendall Hansen’s Hansen, winner of his only two starts by a combined 25 1/2 lengths, drew post 5 at 10-1 in the Juvenile. The Mike Maker trainee could be the biggest wild card in the race given the fact he wasn’t challenged in his two starts on Polytrack at Turfway Park.
Hansen, to be ridden for the first time by Ramon Dominguez, was visually impressive in winning the Sept. 24 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles. Since then the Tapit colt has worked steadily on the dirt at the Churchill Downs Training Center.
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