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Union Rags and jockey Javier Castellano win the Gr I Champagne at Belmont Park 10/8/11

Union Rags: a great-grandson of 1966 1,000 Guineas winner Glad Rags

  PICTURE: EquiSport Photos/Jessie Holmes  

Glad Rags empire yields second Belmont winner

UNION RAGS lived up to his huge reputation by coming with a late dash up the rail to deny the front-running Paynter (Awesome Again) to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday - and become the second winner of the New York Classic descended from Vincent O'Brien's 1966 1,000 Guineas winner Glad Rags.

Paynter's defeat means horses trained by Bob Baffert for Ahmed Zayat and ridden by Mike Smith were caught close home to finish second in all three legs of the US Triple Crown after Bodemeister was runner-up to I'll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

I'll Have Another's Triple Crown bid was thwarted when he was withdrawn from the Belmont and retired from racing after sustaining a leg injury on Friday.

Union Rags had won last season's Saratoga Special and Champagne Stakes by wide margins before being narrowly beaten by Hansen in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

This season the Michael Matz-trained colt had won the Fountain of Youth Stakes, finished third in the Florida Derby and was a staying-on seventh in the Kentucky Derby.

Union Rags owes his name to the influences on the top and bottom halves of his pedigree.

He is a posthumous first Classic winner for his sire Dixie Union, a son of Dixieland Band who won the Haskell Invitational and Malibu Stakes and stood at Lane's End Farm.

Dixie Union was put down in July 2010 due to a detioration of a neurological condition. His other top performers include Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes winner Dixie Chatter, Graded scorers Gone Astray, Grasshopper and Hot Dixie Chick, plus Sander Camillo, who won the Cherry Hinton Stakes for Jeremy Noseda in 2006.

Union Rags' third dam is 1966 1,000 Guineas heroine Glad Rags, legendary trainer Vincent O'Brien's only winner of the Newmarket fillies' Classic.

He was bred by Phyllis Wyeth out of Tempo, who is by Gone West out of Glad Rags' Grade 2-winning daughter Terpsichorist.

As a daughter of Nijinsky, Terpsichorist was a sister to Glad Rags' most famous foal Gorytus, the impressive winner of the Acomb and Champagne Stakes in 1982 who was overturned in one of the shock results of the decade when virtually pulled-up behind Diesis in the Dewhurst Stakes.

Union Rags is Glad Rags' second Belmont Stakes-winning great-grandson after Colonial Affair, who was out of a daughter of Terpsichorist and Gorytus's sister Mirthful Flirt and won the race in 1993.

Other descendants of Glad Rags include Mother Goose Stakes winner Dreams Gallore, Alcibiades Stakes winner Special Happening and Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Prince Of Birds.





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