Matz: Road to Champion 3-Year-Old Runs Through Haskell; Dullahan to Start Next in Monmouth's Signature Race

Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Oceanport, N.J. -- Michael Matz, the trainer of Union Rags, confirmed that the road to the 3-year-old championship goes through the Grade 1 $1 million Haskell Invitational, to be renewed this year for the 45th time.

            Matz, who was at Monmouth Park on Saturday to saddle Somali Lemonade in the Grade 3 $100,000 Boiling Springs Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, said that at this stage he has two options for Belmont Stakes-winning Union Rags, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Sat., July 28 or the Haskell here on Sun., July 29.

            “I will have to make a decision,” said Matz. “I would imagine, though, that if you are trying to be the 3-year-old champion, you have to run in the grade one races and that would be the Haskell.”

            Union Rags, a son of 2000 Haskell winner Dixie Union, has won five of eight career starts.  His only off the board finish came in the Kentucky Derby, where he checked in seventh after a troubled trip.  He has banked nearly $1.8 million for owner Chadds Ford Stable.

            Already committed to a start in the mile and an eighth Haskell are the ultra-speedy Bodemeister, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and Dullahan, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and third in the Kentucky Derby.

            Select reserved seats remain for the Haskell, ranging in price from $10 to $17.  Fans can purchase tickets at the track on any live race day, or by calling 732-571-5563 or visiting