Derby Fever: Union Rags

For IRS purposes, Phyllis Wyeth sold youngster Union Rags for $145K to prove she was running a business, not a hobby. A year later, painfully regretting her decision, she bought him back for $390K. And she hasn’t looked back.

For Owner/Breeder Phyllis Wyeth, wife of painter Jamie Wyeth, Union Rags has proven a dream come true, currently ranked third in graded stakes earnings ($1,170,000) for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. He’s also currently ranked first in the Daily Racing Form’s Derby Watch Top 20 after a winning the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (GII) and running third in the Florida Derby (GI) earlier this year.

Too add to his story, he’s trained by Michael Matz, who’s not only a former Olympic show jumper, but also an actual hero. Matz was a passenger aboard United 232, the 1989 flight that crashed at Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, when engines failed, claiming 111 lives. Matz survived and saved four children from the wreckage before going on to become the devoted trainer of infamous Derby-winner Barbaro. A Triple Crown triumph seems more than well-deserved.

Track Pack PA has put together an awesome tribute to the Pennsylvania-bred colt, including a slideshow story and the first of what looks to be a several-episode series entitled “Union Rags: An American Love Story,” both of which you can check out by clicking right here.

Go Union Rags.

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