Belmont winner Union Rags will not race again this year because of a minor tendon injury in his left front leg, veterinarian Kathy Anderson confirmed in a release Wednesday.
He last trained July 6 at his Fair Hill base and was presented Tuesday with a “mild filling of his left forelimb” after that work, according to the statement. An ultrasound revealed that the injury occurred during Friday’s work and has not been an ongoing problem.
“The prognosis for full return to racing is excellent and he is scheduled to undergo treatment and therapy immediately with the goal of keeping his options open for 2013,” Anderson said in the statement.
The horse had been the winter favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, but got pinched out of the gate at Churchill Downs and finished seventh as a 5-1 second choice. Trainer Michael Matz decided to keep Union Rags out of the Preakness to rest for the Belmont, which he won by narrowly edging Paynter down the stretch.
I’ll Have Another, who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, was retired to stud after suffering a tendon injury in the days leading up to the Belmont.
Union Rags’ team is optimistic the horse will not fall victim to the same fate.
“Needless to say his owners, trainer and all connections are extremely disappointed with this turn of events but we believe that this early diagnosis and treatment combined with rest will ultimately favor his full recovery and future success,” the statement finished.