Beyer: Is there a star among this year’s Derby hopefuls?
At the Washington Post, Andrew Beyer draws might be considered an obvious conclusion – Thoroughbred racing badly needs a 3-year-old star to emerge in this year's Triple Crown. Could it be Union Rags? Or a West Coaster? Or even a runner that hasn't stepped forward yet?
“Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but I expect Union Rags to advance to a new level Saturday. Trainer Michael Matz doesn't ask his horses to deliver too much too soon; he proved with Barbaro in 2006 that he knows how to prepare a horse to produce a maximum effort in the Derby. When Union Rags captured the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream last month, he looked as if he had plenty left in the tank. Despite his modest speed figures, he has the potential to stamp himself as a genuinely top-class horse.
“Another crucial prep-race confrontation will occur April 7 in the Santa Anita Derby, when Creative Cause has a rematch with Bodemeister. The 3-year-olds in California appear to be a deeper, more talented group than their counterparts in the East, and Creative Cause ran a strong race — earning a speed figure of 102 — to beat Bodemeister by three-quarters of a length in the San Felipe Stakes last month.”