Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags, a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), was scheduled to leave Keeneland late this morning for Churchill Downs. Michael Matz trains the 3-year-old son of Dixie Union, who has trained here since he arrived from the Palm Meadows training center in Florida on April 15. Union Rags worked once at Keeneland, a half-mile in :47.40 on April 20, under regular exercise rider Peter Brette.
“He’s been doing well here,” said Matz, who trained Barbaro at Keeneland in April 2006 before he won the Kentucky Derby. Since his work, Union Rags and Brette have been galloping each morning over Keeneland’s five-furlong training track. Union Rags is to turn in his final work for the Derby at Churchill in the coming days.
Trainer Peter S. Pizzo Jr. scored his first victory at Keeeneland when Rena Starlight won the fourth race on Wednesday. Pizzo owns the 4-year-old Star Dabbler filly with James E. Clay. Gabriel Saez rode Rena Starlight to win the 1 1/16-mile maiden claiming race by a head in 1:46.21.
KEENELAND SALES GRADS PROMINENT AMONG KENTUCKY DERBY/OAKS CONTENDERS
Twelve of the top 20 contenders ranked by graded stakes earnings for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and eight of the 16 hopefuls atop the graded stakes earnings list for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) are alumni of the Keeneland sales.
Keeneland sales alumni swept the 2011 Triple Crown - Animal Kingdom (Kentucky Derby), Shackleford (Preakness-G1) and Ruler On Ice (Belmont-G1).
The Keeneland sales alumni listed as likely Kentucky Derby starters are:
Bodemeister – the 9½-length winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) was purchased at the 2010 September Yearling Sale by co-owner Zayat Stables for $260,000 from Brookdale Sales, agent for Audley Farm.
Creative Cause – the San Felipe (G2) winner was purchased by Becky Thomas from Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, for $135,000 at the 2010 September Sale.
Daddy Nose Best - the winner of the Grade 3 El Camino Real and Sunland Derbies was purchased by owners Bob and Cathy Zollars from Betz Thoroughbreds Inc., agent, for $35,000 at the 2010 September Sale. The colt also was offered for sale as a weanling at the 2009 November Breeding Stock Sale.
Dullahan – owner Jerry Crawford’s Donegal Racing bought the Toyota Blue Grass (G1) winner for $250,000 from Bona Terra Stud, agent for Halecky and Needham at the 2010 September Sale.
El Padrino – the Risen Star (G2) winner was purchased at the 2010 September Sale by trainer Todd Pletcher for $210,000 from Middlebrook Farm, agent.
Gemologist – Maverick Racing bought the winner of the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (G1) as a weanling at the 2009 November Breeding Stock Sale for $310,000 from consignor Lane’s End, agent.
I’ll Have Another – Victor Davila paid $11,000 for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner, consigned by Brookdale Sales, agent, at the 2010 September Sale.
Liaison – the winner of the CashCall Futurity (G1) was consigned to the 2010 September Sale by Lane’s End, agent, and sold for $290,000 to owner Arnold Zetcher;
Mark Valeski – the colt, second in the Louisiana Derby (G2), was offered for sale by Brereton Jones/Airdrie Stud, agent, at the 2010 September Sale.
Sabercat – Lantern Hill Farm, agent, consigned the winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) to the 2010 September Sale, where the colt was bought for $120,000 by owner Ron Winchell.
Take Charge Indy – the Florida Derby (G1) winner was offered for sale by Eaton Sales, agent, at the 2010 September Sale.
Went the Day Well – Hurstland Farm, agent for the Estate of Austin Delaney, consigned the winner of the Vinery Racing Spiral (G3) as a weanling to the 2009 November Sale, where he sold for $15,000 to Grove Stud.