Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pair of Matz Juveniles Hit the Ground Running...

--Steve Sherack

For a trainer connecting with only roughly 6 percent of his first-time starters (stat courtesy DRF Formulator from a 50-horse sample), Michael Matz sure has unleashed a couple of promising juveniles this summer.

Union Rags (c, 2, Dixie Union--Tempo, by Gone West) was the first to catch the eye at Delaware Park July 12 (TDN Video). Given a 7-1 chance in his unveiling, the bay settled nicely in seventh through an opening quarter in :22.08. With Julian Pimentel aboard, he immediately quickened when asked the question and gamely split horses while rallying on the turn for home. Continuing to roll while riding the rail, the March foal was guided off the fence for his stretch run, and quickly inhaled the leader, striding away in style to score by a decisive 1 3/4 lengths. The final time for the five-furlong affair was :58.25, good for a 65 Beyer.

Four of the eight also-rans from that contest have returned to action so far, including a pair of next out winners. Angel’s Tune (High Cotton), sixth as the even-money favorite in his unveiling for Todd Pletcher, successfully stretched to a route maiden special win at Delaware Aug. 9. Fifth-place finisher High Heat (Latent Heat) resurfaced with a sharp wire-to-wire maiden special weight victory at Delaware Aug. 1. Eighth-place finisher Noon Time Shots (Capture The Gold) returned to place a distant second in a Jersey-bred maiden special at Monmouth July 25. Freddie One Bite (Forest Wildcat), 3 1/2 lengths behind Union Rags in third, repeated that performance in High Heat’s aforementioned maiden win.

Union Rags has registered a trio of smart breezes since sporting the cap and gown. He returned to Matz’s Fair Hill base with a four-furlong move in :52 July 26, then posted a five-furlong bullet in 1:01.60 at the tranquil Maryland training center Aug. 2. Shipped to Saratoga, he has continued to train smartly, firing a best-of-44 four-furlong bullet in :47.66 Aug. 9.
Michael Matz/Equi-Photo

Bred in Kentucky by Phyllis M. Wyeth, Union Rags was re-acquired by his breeder for $390,000 earlier this year as a FTFFEB juvenile after zipping an eighth in :10 1/5 (breeze video). The full-brother to the stakes-placed Geefour previously brought $145,000 as a FTSAUG yearling.

Union Rags’s dam Tempo showed some talent in her shortened career. Trained by Bill Mott, she made her debut worth the wait at the age of three with a 4 1/2-length win in a Calder maiden in December. Sidelined thereafter, the chestnut finally returned to action as 5-year-old with a sharp allowance win at Gulfstream in February. She concluded her three-race career the following month with a second-place finish in an Aqueduct allowance behind Quiet Dance (Quiet American), who later produced Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado).

Next up to take the spotlight for the Kentucky Derby winning trainer was And Why Not (f, 2, Street Cry {Ire}--Alchemist, by A.P. Indy) at Saratoga Aug. 7 (TDN Video).

Outsprinted in seventh through a sizzling opening quarter in :21.73 after breaking alertly over a drying out speed-favoring surface, the 7-1 chance made a flashy move to reach contention on the turn for home. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, she hit the front in the stretch and kept on finding more, drawing off to graduate at first asking by a good looking 5 1/2 lengths. And Why Not stopped the clock for 6 1/2 furlongs over a “good” track in 1:19.71. She earned a 64 Beyer in the victory.

And Why Not/Adam Coglianese
 Bred in Kentucky by Helen Groves, Helen Alexander and D.D. Matz, she was purchased by Helen Groves for $775,000 at last year’s FTSAUG sale to dissolve the partnership (TDN Sales Coverage). Out of the very solid graded-stakes placed mare Alchemist, And Why Not is a granddaughter of GI Go For Wand H. heroine and GI Test S. runner-up Aldiza (Storm Cat).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have many fond memories of riding Union Rags second dam Terpsichorist as a yearling and two year old in the Bluegrass fields of Hickory Tree Farm in Middleburg Va. with Phyllis's mother Alice Mills astride her gray mare. Her mother's patience with this filly paid off as she won 5 stakes and over $400,000.