01/11/2012 12:01PM

Union Rags returns to work tab with easy three-furlong breeze

Barbara D. Livingston
Union Rags is pointing to the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – Union Rags, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and among the finalists for an Eclipse Award in the 2-year-old division, breezed an easy three furlongs in 38.35 seconds at Palm Meadows on Wednesday in the first work of his 3-year-old campaign.

“It was pretty uneventful, he’s just getting started,” trainer Michael Matz said. “He went an easy three-eighths and galloped out good. He’s really grown and filled out since his last start.”

Matz is hoping to run Union Rags just twice prior to the Kentucky Derby. Those two starts are expected to come in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth here Feb. 26 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31. Matz used the Florida Derby as his final prep prior to Barbaro’s victory in the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

“I’m going to try to make things as simple as possible for the horse,” Matz said. “He’s here in Florida, and the timing is good for the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby as his two preps before the Kentucky Derby. That’s what I’d like to do. It’s a nice plan if it works out.”

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