Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags has sustained a minor suspensory injury and will miss the remainder of the 2012 season.
"He has a small lesion in the middle of the suspensory of his left front leg," trainer Michael Matz said July 11. "He's not lame at all and there's no heat in it. We had worked him Friday (July 6), walked him on Saturday, and jogged him on Sunday and everything was good. There was a little fluid, so we put a thicker poultice on it and he galloped great on Monday (July 9). He galloped again on Tuesday and couldn’t have gone any better, but afterward he did have some fluid again.
"The vet felt it was nothing, but did an ultrasound just to make sure," Matz said. "That's when we discovered the slight tear in the suspensory. The prognosis is four to six months off, and there should be no sign of it after that. He'll go to New Bolton (Medical Center) today to have another ultrasound."
Prognosis is good for the colt, a homebred son of Dixie Union owned by Phyllis Wyeth, to return to racing next year.
Bred in Kentucky, Union Rags is out of the Gone West mare Tempo. He won the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special (gr. II) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last year and finished second by a head to Hansen in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
This year, he captured the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) in addition to the Belmont Stakes, finished third in the Florida Derby (gr. I), and was a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He has won five of eight races in his career while earning $1,798,800.
"We're all very disappointed," Matz said. "This just came at a bad time. It's so small you would never be able to tell there's anything wrong with him."