Union Rags won the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special Stakes Monday, dueling from the start, ridden with purpose on the turn, and busily handled throughout the lane by jockey Javier Castellano. The Dixie Union colt was making only his second start and unexpectedly veered out in the stretch, too, before Castellano straightened him and drew away from the field. See the video at the end of the post.
The Aug. 15 race followed on the heels of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings sale Aug. 8-9 and the sales company’s Saratoga NY Bred Prefered Yearlings sale Aug.13-14, both of which featured well-sold yearlings by the deceased sire of Union Rags. For the buyers of these yearlings, it was immediate satisfaction, no doubt. From the main event, Robert and Lawana Low went to $525,000 for Hip #25 from the Lane’s End consignment, while Mark Johnston spent $375,000 for Hip #82 from Dromoland Farm, Inc.
Dixie Union stood for $35,000 before he died prematurely in July of 2010, and his last yearlings will be sold in 2012. The son of Dixieland Band was a prolific sire of quality horses and is the sire of 31 unrestricted stakes winners to date. Though he sired only two winners at the highest level, he is represented by 19 Graded stakes winners. Most of the stallion’s stakes offspring were best from sprint distances up to a mile and a sixteenth, and he has only a few stakes winners at nine furlongs and none at 10 furlongs. Indeed, Dixie Union epitomized exactly what US breeders and owners look for in a sire today: the ability to get two-year-old stakes winners that stay a mile and a sixteenth at three and above. A young son of his, High Cotton, is showing some life as a sire, too, with several well regarded two-year-olds in his first crop this season.
Union Rags himself was a $145,000 yearling and a $390,000 two-year-old in training this year. Interestingly, the colt’s breeder, Phyllis Wyeth, sold him as a yearling to IEAH Stables AND bought him back as a two-year-old.
Click here to read my column in Thoroughbred Times Today (Wednesday edition, page 4) on Ms. Wyeth’s family and the family behind Union Rags.