08/15/2011 6:08PM

Saratoga: Union Rags runs greenly, but powerfully in Saratoga Special

Barbara D. Livingston
Union Rags pulls clear to a 7 1/4-length victory in the Three Chimimeys Saratoga Special.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Union Rags, coming off a late-rallying debut win at Delaware Park in mid-July, shook off three early-pace rivals off one by one and drew off to win Monday’s Grade 2 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special despite racing greenly in the stretch.

Union Rags broke alertly from the rail and was part of a four-way scramble for the lead with Stat, Indian Evening, and Trinniberg through a first quarter in 21.78 seconds.

WATCH REPLAY: Saratoga Special »

Union Rags and Stat remained together after a half-mile in 45.55 seconds, but Union Rags began to open daylight in the upper stretch, and then swerved out while well in front just inside the eighth pole to finish in the middle of the track. He won by 7 1/4 lengths, and ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.33 in a sea of slop. He was the third winner on the card for Javier Castellano.

“When I showed up and worked the horse in the morning it was unbelievable,” said Castellano. “I’ve never worked a horse like that, and I’ve been fortunate to ride horses like Ghostzapper and Bernardini…this horse is unbelievable and special.”

“Javier said he was looking at the screen a little bit,” said trainer Michael Matz, referring to the colt’s antics in the stretch.

Stat, the 8-5 favorite, held second by three lengths over Indian Evening, who in turn had 3 ¼ lengths on Banner Bill in fourth. Trinniberg and Italo completed the order of finish.

Union Rags ($8.50) earned $290,000 for the win, including a $200,000 bonus paid by Fasig-Tipton and the New York Racing Association to the owner of the first 2-year-old purchased at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale to win a graded stakes at Saratoga.