Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Union Rags worked an easy half-mile at Palm Meadows the morning of March 10 as he continued to prepare for the March 31 Florida Derby (gr. I).
The son of Dixie Union breezed the distance in :50.76 under exercise rider Peter Brett, longtime assistant to trainer Michael Matz.
“Everything went fine. It was just a little maintenance work, that’s all,” Matz said of the drill, the first for Union Rags since his impressive four-length victory in the Fountain of Youth in his season debut. “Everything has been going well. He came out of his race good. This was just a maintenance work, and he’ll have a couple more works before the Florida Derby.”
Union Rags finished second to eventual champion Hansen in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) to conclude his 2011 campaign after winning his first three races, including the Saratoga Special (gr. II) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I).
Another Florida Derby prospect, Alpha, worked at Palm Meadows, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained son of Bernardini won the Count Fleet Stakes and Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct in his past two starts. The Florida Derby and Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct on April 7 are among the options for Alpha’s next start.