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Stallion Profile: Union Rags

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ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08: Union Rags trains on the track in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ELMONT, NY - JUNE 08: Union Rags trains on the track in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Union Rags' retirement from racing due to a suspensor injury means that Mrs. Wyeth is looking for a farm in Lexington to take him on as a stallion. Let's see what they're looking at.

This colt exemplifies all of the traits his sire's get normally expresses: large, precocious, and attractive. But one thing sets him apart from a normal Dixie Union colt: G1 wins. Union Rags is arguably the best Dixie Union to come to the track. Dixie Union always showed well at the sales, since the norm was for his progeny to be big and strong, even as yearlings, so they sold like hotcakes. But few developed into truly dominant runners. Union Rags may not post spectacular speed figures, but he certainly is consistent, churning out 100s (ish) with regularity. If he can provide the same kind of consistency to his foals, he'd be a

Union Rags is sired by Dixie Union. Dixie Union is by Dixieland Band out of Shes Tops (Capote). Shes Tops is a winner of the Railbird Stakes (G2) Dixie Union is her only foal of note. Dixie Union was at his best at 9-10 furlongs and won The Haskell Invitational (G1), Malibu Stakes (G1), Norfolk Stakes (G2), Hollywood Juvenile Championship (G3), and the Best Bal stakes (G3). Additionally, he went off as the favorite in the Travers Stakes (G1), but finished a disappointing 5th. His get are large, attractive foals that look ready to race by the time they are a yearling which gives him a large number of stakes winning 2 year olds of both sexes. Some of his significant offspring are (unless specified, stakes are G1):

  • Hot Dixie Chick - Spinaway Stakes (7f, 2yo fillies, dirt)
  • Dixie Chatter - Norfolk Stakes (1 1/16 miles, 2 yos, AWT) [also 2nd at a mile in a G2 on turf]
  • Grasshopper - 2nd in Travers Stakes (1 ¼ miles, 3yo, dirt), won G3 Mineshaft H. (1 1/16 miles, 4 yos +, dirt)
  • Sister Moon - 2nd in G3 Railbird Stakes (7f, 3yo fillies, AWT) [author's note: look at this chart, she went off as a 1-20 favorite], she also set the 5.5f AWT record at Del Mar in her debut on 21 August 2011, previously held by Sidney's Candy.
  • Other high earning progeny are Gone Astray, Dixie Strike, Turf War and High Cotton.

Since Dixie Union was euthanized due to a deteriorating nerve condition in 2010, he still has 2 year olds on the track this year and a crop of yearlings left to really race. That being said, there has been a lot of speculation about the continuation of his branch of the Northern Dancer line. Currently, no son of Dixie Union is a major sire, in fact, only three of his sons are currently at stud. None stand for more than $5,000 and none are currently in Kentucky.

His broodmare sire is Gone West. He is by Mr. Prospector out of Secrettame (Secretariat). As a son of MP, he was expected to be an outstanding sire, and he certainly was with such high end progeny as Came Home, Commendable, Da Hoss, Grand Slam, Johar, Speightstown, and West by West. His average winning distance of foals is right around a mile with successes on all surfaces and at all distances. (As an interesting note, check out this link, it really puts Gone West's potency as a sire of sires in perspective) So there is no doubt of the quality of his genes by any measure.

As a damsire, he is amongst the best of his generation. He has 1211 registered foal from his mares, with a remarkable 94 of them being stakes winners, good enough for a stakes winning percentage of 7.8%. To put that number in perspective, Sadler's Wells sits at 306 of 5019 (6.1%) and Danehill is 202 of 4672 (4.3%). (All information from Bloodhorse's BM Sire Ranking) He is proven to produce quality offspring and to consistently pass quality genes through his daughters.

His dam is Tempo. She is by Gone West out of Terpsichorist (Nijinsky) and was foaled in 1992. Her lifetime record is 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 1 Places, 0 Shows and has career earnings of $34,400. She has 8 registered foals between 1999 and 2009. Of note:

  • Geefour by Dixie Union. Foaled in 2004. He was 3rd in the listed stakes Le Grande Pos Handicap at Philadelphia Park. His lifetime record is 18-3-5-3 and he won $132,938. He was at his best at sprint distances on the dirt.
  • Miss Pauline by Cat Thief. Foaled in 2005. She was a mid-level AOC horse in Philadelphia. Her lifetime record is 29-6-6-6 and she won $207,867. She was best at 6f on the dirt.
  • Tempo West by Rahy. Foaled in 1999. He was a nice allowance horse in New York. His lifetime record is 11-3-3-3 and he won $104,458. He was most comfortable at just over a mile. She has several foals racing in France and Britain.

His granddam is Terpsichorist. She is by Nijinsky out of Glad Rags (High Hat). She won $426,986and has a lifetime race record of 28-11-5-4. She is a multiple graded stakes winner to include the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2) and the Long Island Handicap (G3). Terpsichorist was at her best on the turf and running long, often more than 10 furlongs. Her foals of note:

  • Dancing Devlette by Devil's Bag. Foaled in 1987. She was 2nd in G2 New York Handicap. Her lifetime record is 18-5-4-3 with earnings of $179,662. She preferred the grass and distances over a mile. She is also the dam of three stakes horses: Pratella (G3 winner of $459k, 9f on the turf); Satan's Code (listed SW of $210k, turf sprinter); and Satan's Quick Chick (G2 winner of $436k, 7f on dirt).
  • Marry Me Do by Blushing Groom. Foaled in 1989. This gelding was 3rd in the Maryland Budweiser Handicap. His lifetime record is 74-19-2-3 with earnings of $368,597. He is a sprinter that prefers the dirt.
  • Thebes by Hansel. Foaled in 1993. 2nd in the listed Daniel Van Clief Stakes. He was 50-11-8-6 and earned $93,097.
  • Fortunee by Wild Again. Foaled in 1994. She is unraced. However, she has 9 registered foals, 5 of which earned over $100,000 and two are stakes placed (Fortunate Event and Cheiron)

She has two unraced foals and two that raced but did not break their maiden. There is no doubt that Terpsichorist passes a quality pedigree both to and through her progeny.

Union Rags' great-granddam is Glad Rags (GB) by High Hat out of Dryad (Panorama). We are going back pretty far in years now, as Glad Rags was foaled in 1963. However, she is a group stakes winner (well, the group system did not technically exist yet) and was the champion 2 year old filly of Ireland in 1965. She won the Railway stakes and the British One Thousand Guineas, both Group events. Her best foal was Terpsichorist, her next best iss Gorytus:

  • Gorytus by Nijinsky. Foaled 1980. Multiple Group Stakes winner in Britain. Lifetime record of 8-2-3-0. Was sent to stud in Japan in 1988.

There is a lot of very intriguing information in this pedigree. First, the DuPonts have owned this female family for as far back as I can find records. Glad Rags, Tempo, and Terpsichorist were all raced by Alice DuPont Mills' Hickory Tree Farms/Stables. (For more information on Alice Dupont Mills, check out her page at Wikipedia) Additionally, the DuPonts had a huge number of influential horses that they owned and bred during the peak of their influence up through the 1980s and it seems that Mrs. Mills kept a large number of the foals and raced them. She also purchased Devil's Bag at the 1982 Keeneland Yearling Sale for $325,000. He is a full brother to Saint Ballado and Mrs. Mills bred Terpsichorist to him in order to produce Dancing Devlette. But now I digress.

And one more interesting thing from Sid Fernando in relation to Gorytus. I don't know if Union Rags was cursed, I just think he was big as a 2yo, and just never really got better.

So there is no doubt that Union Rags has a solid pedigree. Not superstar quality, but then again, Union Rags is definitely not a superstar. He should put out large progeny, developing quickly into sales specimens, but I just don't see the genes there to successfully put out high end stakes horses. His sire was a far better race horse, and he struggled to produce G1 level horses. With the inbreeding of Mr. Prospector 4x3 (through Gone West), it should enhance his ability to produce very nice progeny with the ability to win at any distance.

Overall, he should produce quick growing offspring with a propensity for 8+ furlongs. I just don't see him as a great sire. My bet is the Mrs. Wyeth finds a deal in Lexington that prices him in the $10,000 range. But then again, he should definitely have a good showing as a Freshman Juvenile Sire when his first crop of 2 year olds hits the track in 2015.