Union Rags recorded his first workout since the Florida Derby (gr. I) and his final move at Palm Meadows April 12, breezing four furlongs in :48 2/5. It was the second fastest work of 16 that morning.
Trainer Michael Matz wasn’t at Palm Meadows for the work and as of 11 a.m. EDT said he didn’t have a chance to speak with exercise rider Peter Brette. He said he heard only from a second party that the Dixie Union colt went nicely and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.
Matz said Union Rags is scheduled to leave for Keeneland on April 14, and at that time they will make up a schedule for his works leading up to the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Union Rags will enter the Kentucky Derby off a third-place finish in the March 31 Florida Derby (gr. I), where he was beaten 1 1/4 lengths after a less than ideal trip under Julien Leparoux. But Matz has not lost any confidence in the bay colt.
“It’s not going to change my opinion of the horse,” Matz said. “It’s the same as before he went in the Florida Derby as it is after the Florida Derby. He didn’t have the best trip; it is what it is. There’s not too much to make of it."
When asked if Leparoux, who was riding Union Rags for only the second time, learned a little bit about the colt, Matz said: “I think so. There were other factors too. There was a track bias that day; nothing was coming from behind at all, and there were seven riders against Julien.
“So I think they are things that he learned experience-wise. He’s a smart jockey. He’ll figure those things out next time.”