November 30, 2011 |
UNION RAGS HAS been relaxing in South Florida since the day after his dramatic late run in the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs fell just short. The first loss of his career did not change the colt's status as the early favorite for the 2012 Kentucky Derby. While Union Rags gets some rest and time to grow, trainer Michael Matz has mapped out a two-race plan to get the colt back to Churchill for the May 5 Derby. Matz is looking at the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Sunday, Feb. 26, and the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 31. Both races are at Gulfstream Park.
November 6, 2011 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A day of Breeders' Cup surprises began with a horse from Philadelphia pulling off a massive upset on the Breeders' Cup undercard, and climaxed with some head-turners on horse racing's biggest day. The two most accomplished local horses, 4-year-old filly Havre de Grace and 2-year-old eye-opener Union Rags, wound up short of the big prizes. Jockey Mike Smith, who couldn't quite get there in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic with the great filly Zenyatta, pulled off an upset Saturday, and made some Breeders' Cup history of his own, as 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer won the $5 million Classic, the sport's richest event, coming from behind - "out of nowhere," screamed the track announcer - for a 11/2-length victory over Game On Dude.
November 4, 2011 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Roy Jackson, co-owner of the great and ill-fated racehorse Barbaro with his wife, Gretchen, said their connection with Barbaro's trainer, Michael Matz, will never fade. "We'll be tied until we're off this earth," Jackson said Thursday. "It still keeps going on. " It just won't continue with more horses. This summer, the Jacksons told Matz they were moving the horses they had with him to another trainer. "I don't know what to say," Matz said Thursday outside his barn at Churchill Downs as he prepares two undefeated 2-year-olds for the Breeders' Cup, with Somali Lemonade racing Friday in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Union Rags racing Saturday in the Juvenile.
November 3, 2011 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In the final days before the 2006 Kentucky Derby, Michael Matz could not contain his enthusiasm for Barbaro's chances. The colt looked so good on the track in the mornings that the trainer just knew Barbaro was sitting on the race of his life. No horse can glow quite as Barbaro did that spring, but when Union Rags arrived on the Churchill Downs surface yesterday at 8:30 a.m., the unbeaten 2-year-old looked plenty good enough. With the glare of the track's lights shining down on them, dozens of Breeders' Cup horses were on the track by 6 a.m. Matz waited for the sun until he brought the big horse out of Barn 22. With exercise rider Peter Brette aboard, Union Rags trailed stablemate Somali Lemonade as they walked around the outside of the track past the finish line to the paddock entrance.
October 7, 2011 |
IT WILL BE 6 years next spring when our string of Triple Crown race winners ended in the Preakness with Barbaro's devastating injury. From the 2004 Kentucky Derby through the 2006 Derby, local horses won five of the seven Triple Crown races and lost the other two by 1 length. That was two each of Derby and Preakness and one Belmont Stakes for Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex and Barbaro. It began with no warning and ended the same way. A bit after 5:15 tomorrow afternoon on the western tip of Long Island, the next colt that could get Philly to the Derby runs in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
August 24, 2011 |
PHYLLIS WYETH sold the yearling son of Dixie Union at Saratoga in August 2010. When the calendar turned 2011, she had long since decided she wanted the now 2-year-old colt back. Wyeth's farm, Chadds Ford Stable, overlaps Pennsylvania and Delaware. Her parents, James and Alice Mills, ran the famed Hickory Tree Stable, racing such luminaries as Devil's Bag and Gone West. Wyeth is married to Jamie Wyeth, son of Andrew Wyeth, grandson of N.C. Wyeth, a trifecta of legendary artists.
May 30, 2011
Lucy Matz of Coatesville rode her mother's Wise Guy to victory in the $2,500 Pony Jumper bonus point class Sunday at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. She also took the Pony Jumper Championship. Matz is the daughter of Michael Matz, the trainer of Barbaro and many successful thoroughbreds. Her mother Dorothy (D.D.) was also a top show-jumping rider. Lucy Matz also was awarded the Pony Jumper Style Award. The good turns she made in the jump-off gave her the win. She rode a clean round in 35.934 seconds to beat Nicole Kehrli on Northwind's Opus, who was clean in 37.211.
May 20, 2011 |
BALTIMORE - At the Fair Hill Training Center, a pastoral horse-racing incubator just over the Pennsylvania border in northeast Maryland, the barns and stables run by Graham Motion, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, are at one end of the complex and those of trainer Michael Matz are at the other. They are friends cut from the same saddlecloth; honest, clean trainers with horsemanship experience spread across the spectrum of racing. Their backgrounds are a mixture of training soundly for grass and dirt, for everything from steeplechase to Olympic equestrian events, for giving the same careful attention to a maiden claimer as to a stakes horse.
May 4, 2011 |
Five years ago, a horse owned by a Chester County couple, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, trained by another Chester County resident, Michael Matz, won the Kentucky Derby by 61/2 lengths, causing every expert at Churchill Downs to reach for superlatives, judging the perfomance against the best they had ever seen. "A sublime performance," race-caller Tom Durkin nailed it as Barbaro romped under a hand ride, never feeling the whip. Two weeks later, of course, the story turned, and Barbaro spent the next eight months at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center after multiple fractures suffered at the Preakness Stakes.
May 31, 2010
Nina Montross of Bedford Hills, N.Y., rode Paradysz Farm's Indigo to win both Pony Jumper classes Sunday and finished second in the division's first class Saturday to win the championship at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair with 31 points. In the $2,500 NAL Pony Jumpers on Sunday evening, Montross beat five ponies that had jumped without a fault in the first round of 20 ponies with a clean round in 24.912 seconds. Alex Matz, who placed fourth in the NAL Pony Jumpers on Wiseguy, was awarded the Pony Jumper Style Award.