04/26/2012 2:47PM

Churchill Downs: Union Rags arrives for final Kentucky Derby training


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Union Rags, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby, arrived at Churchill Downs shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday and was bedded down in barn 42, stall 10, the same stall from which Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Union Rags, like Barbaro, is trained by Michael Matz.

Union Rags, who finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile here in his 2-year-old finale, wintered at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida before shipping to Keeneland two weeks ago. He was accompanied on the approximately 65-mile van ride from Lexington by four other horses from Matz’s stable including And Likely Not, a potential starter in the Kentucky Oaks.

“He’s in the same barn and same stall as Barbaro was six years ago,” said Matz. “He’s even got the same groom, Eduardo Hernandez, Barbaro had when he won the Derby.”

Matz remained undecided when Union Rags would have his final Derby work.

“We’ve been lucky with him so far in his preparations for the Derby,” said Matz. “Everything has fallen in order that he’s needed to do up to this point. He needs to have one more work. When exactly that will be depends upon the weather although Saturday would be the ideal day.”

Union Rags arrives from Keeneland. (Churchill Downs video)

Another Derby hopeful, Went the Day Well, also vanned over from Keeneland on Thursday, arriving at Churchill Downs a half hour before Union Rags. And like Union Rags, he too is bedded down in the stall of a former Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, who won the race a year ago. Both Went the Day Well and Animal Kingdom are trained by Graham Motion.

Went the Day Well is scheduled to have his final Derby workout after the renovation on break Saturday with his regular rider, John Velazquez, aboard.