Kentucky Derby Preview: A Look at Union Rags, One of This Year's FavoritesPublished May 3, 2012
The Kentucky Derby, also known as “The Run for the Roses”, is the first of three “jewels” in the Triple Crown. The race is one of the most prestigious and competitive horse racing events for two year-old Thoroughbreds. The Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and finishes with the longest race; The Belmont Stakes.
Due to its extreme difficulty, the speed and endurance requirements challenges both horses and jockeys. While, several Thoroughbreds have tantalizingly won two out of the three events over the past few years, no horse has successfully won the Triple Crown since 1978, when Affirmed became only the eleventh horse to gallop to victory.
The Kentucky Derby is held each year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to the excitement of the race itself, the Kentucky Derby is practically synonymous with the frosty, refreshing Mint Juleps served in special glasses, the beautifully dressed ladies all decked out in their flashy and elaborately designed head-gear, and the men turned out in their colorfully banded straw hats, wearing sports coat suitable for the occasion. The Kentucky Derby has been steeped historically in these long-standing traditions.
So, for horse racing fans, this coming Saturday May 5 is truly both an exciting and riveting event. This year 20 proven, magnificent equine athletes, with their skillful and talented jockeys aboard, are scheduled to leave the starting gate for the 138th “Run for the Roses”.
The early favorites to win the Kentucky Derby are Union Rags and Bodemeister, since both horses were listed with 9/2 odds as of April 30. Personally, if I was a betting person, I would put my money on the beautiful colt, Union Rags. I am so rooting for this magnificent horse to receive the gorgeous blanket of red roses, honored in the winner’s circle after he flies over the finish line in first place. Since Michael Matz, Union Rags’ trainer is a gifted horseman and an accomplished equestrian, with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard; the odds of my wish being granted are pretty high.
Some Interesting Background on Union Rags’ Owner
Union Rags is owned by Phyllis Wyeth of the Chadds Ford Stables, located in Chadds Ford, Pa. She is married to the celebrated artist, James Wyeth, a son of the famous artist Andrew Wyeth. Raised in a horse racing family, she was an accomplished equestrian, riding steeplechase horses between 1958 and 1961.
Mrs. Wyeth worked for John F. Kennedy before and during his presidency. Suffering a broken neck in an automobile accident in 1962, due to the degenerative nature of her injuries, in 2001, she became wheelchair bound, leading her to become a strong advocate to make buildings accessible for the disabled.
Talking about her history with Union Rags, Mrs. Wyeth said “I bred Union Rags and then sold him for $145,000. But then I started having dreams that he was going to do some great things. So I bought him back for $390,000 at Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-old sale. It wasn’t a great business deal at the time, but I am so happy I did it.” And this writer agrees wholeheartedly with Mrs. Wyeth.
I hope this article has inspired you to watch the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. Will you be rooting for Union Rags? Share in a comment.