Second Chances: Union Maiden


Union Rags | Lee Thomas


In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar. In this edition, Union Maiden (Union Rags) is highlighted following a better-than-it-looked fifth-place finish after missing the break on debut at Gulfstream Park earlier this month. Previous runners featured in this column include: MGISW and 'TDN Rising Star' Paradise Woods (Union Rags), GSW Backyard Heaven (Tizway), MSW and 'TDN Rising Star' Gidu (Ire) (Frankel {GB}); and the highly regarded runaway Santa Anita maiden winner Honor A. P. (Honor Code).

Despite an off-the-board finish as the 4-5 favorite on debut, Union Maiden (f, 3, Union Rags–Pantanal, by Congrats) flashed plenty of potential in her six-furlong unveiling at Gulfstream Park Feb. 16 (video).

The bay, drawn widest of all in post nine, lost all chance after hitting the gate at the start and trailed the field through an opening quarter in a sharp :22.45. She finally entered the picture approaching the quarter pole, cornered for home while about four/five wide and came rolling down the center of the course to finish an encouraging fifth, easily clocking the fastest final eighth of the field in :12.44. Union Maiden cut the final deficit to 2 1/4 lengths behind a 'TDN Rising Star' performance from visually impressive first-time starter Remanded (Elusive Quality).

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan went to $425,000 to acquire Union Maiden on behalf of Allen Wise's Wise Racing as an OBS March 2-year-old following a :21 1/5 breeze from the Eddie Woods consignment last spring. She is trained by Chad Brown.

“The winner got the 'TDN Rising Star' and is a nice filly, but I think this filly was the best in the race,” Ryan said.

“She got left many many lengths and got beat 2 1/4 lengths, galloping out past the winner before they got to the turn. If she would've come out of the gate clean, she would've won. I was very impressed with the effort she put in down the lane. A lot of first-time starters aren't going to do that. I think she's a quality filly and is Saturday afternoon class. We're very optimistic that she's going to improve tremendously.

Ryan continued, “She was a lovely filly at the sale. Eddie Woods does a superior job. Her breeze was spectacular–when you see them breeze like that, it's not rocket science. I'm a huge Dixie Union fan-Gerry Dilger and myself bred [GISW] Hot Dixie Chick (Dixie Union). This filly had a lot of Dixie Union in her. He was a great sire that left us too soon.”

Bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm LLC, Union Maiden is a half-sister to last year's GI Woody Stephens S. third Borracho (Uncle Mo). The granddaughter of three-time stakes winner Selva (Forest Wildcat) also RNA'd for $110,000 as a KEENOV weanling and brought $220,000 from Apogee Bloodstock as a KEESEP yearling.

Primacy is another maiden 3-year-old daughter of Union Rags selected by Ryan ($240,000 OBSAPR purchase on behalf of Pick Five Racing, LLC) and trained by Brown to keep an eye on. She rallied from very far back to finish a strong second at first asking at Gulfstream last Sunday (video).

“That filly was back a country mile,” Ryan said. “She's a very nice filly–that was a monstrous effort.”

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