'Rags' looking for riches

May, 3, 2012
I was very happy Wednesday to learn that Union Rags drew post position 4 for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. I feel like we definitely have options from that post. There's obviously a lot of speed in the race, and I think that's great. The faster they go up front, the better it is for us.

Everything I hear from trainer Michael Matz is that the horse is doing extremely well. He came out of his workout on Saturday nicely and has just gone out for some easy gallops this week. I couldn't be more pleased with the way he's been training. I'm very hopeful that this will lead to a great run on Saturday.

I'm really happy that my mom is coming to the Derby. It'll be her second time attending the Run for the Roses. She loved it the first time. She'll be looking on with my fiancee, Shea. I'd love to win this race for the two special ladies in my life.

I'm also very excited about my new partnership with Stella Artois. I'll wear their logo on my pants on Saturday afternoon. They've been a really good friend to racing over the years. It's a natural fit because Stella Artois is all about tradition, kind of like racing. They've been in business for more than six hundred years -- and during that time, they've amassed a sterling reputation. It's great to have them as the official beer of the Kentucky Derby, and I'm proud to be representing them in the great race.

This will be my sixth consecutive Kentucky Derby. I can't say I really get nervous. Obviously, there's always a lot of pressure on you in the Derby -- especially when you're riding a horse as talented as Union Rags. But I'm feeling much more excited than I am nervous. I'll be able to get a good night's sleep on Friday.

Last time I blogged, I asked you to leave some questions, and I'm happy to see that you did. One reader asked about taking off Daddy Nose Best to ride Union Rags. It was a tough decision, for sure. I really like Daddy Nose Best, and think he has a great future as the distances get longer. In the end, though, I just felt Union Rags was the best choice for me.

Another question you sent me dealt with my prerace routine before the Derby. For sure, it's quite different from any other. There are almost two hours in between the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and the Derby. There are some prerace obligations to fulfill. We take the official Kentucky Derby jockeys photo and sign autographs for charity and things like that, but there's also plenty of downtime. My main focus before the Derby is to just try to stay loose. I'll probably end up just watching a little TV.

Thanks so much for your questions, and please continue to leave them for me. I look forward to getting a chance to answer some more after the Derby.



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