Multiple Grade I winner Union Rags, winner of the Belmont Stakes last month, will be sidelined for the remainder of his 3-year-old season after being diagnosed with a tendon injury.
“I have just received notification from (trainer) Michael Matz that Union Rags has sustained a minor tendon injury which means he will miss the balance of the 2012 season,” Russell Jones, bloodstock advisor to owner/breeder Phyllis Wyeth, said in a statement to members of the media attending Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale. “Mrs. Wyeth is currently evaluating future plans. We will have a statement further describing the injury from Dr. Kathy Anderson at Fair Hill in the morning.”
Union Rags was being pointed toward a start in the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29 where he was slated to face the likes of fellow Grade I winners Bodemeister and Dullahan. The son of Dixie Union most recently worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 last Friday at Fair Hill Training Center.
Despite finishing second to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, Union Rags was widely considered the pro-tem leader of his class as a result of the brilliance he showed in winning the Grade I Champagne as a juvenile and the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes in his seasonal bow this February.
After finishing a disappointing third in the Grade I Florida Derby and seventh in the Kentucky Derby, Union Rags reestablished himself as one of the leaders of his generation when he captured the Belmont Stakes by a neck over Paynter.
The injury is the latest bout of bad fortune to befall the Union Rags camp. A week after guiding the colt to his Belmont triumph in their first pairing together, jockey John Velazquez suffered a broken collarbone and trauma to his kidney on June 16 after the horse he was riding in the ninth race at Churchill Downs broke down.