Union Jackson’s 2YOs Win at 5 Tracks, 3 Distances – Recently by 4+ Lengths at Gulfstream & Aqueduct
By Rab Hagin
In their first and second starts respectively, UNION JACKSON first-crop juveniles RHYMES LIKE DIMES and UNIQUE UNIONS each broke their maidens by 4 1/4 lengths going six furlongs at Gulfstream and Aqueduct in November, leaving near even-money favorites in their wake. These followed Union Jackson’s 2-year-old filly winners OUR TINY DANCER by eight lengths in a Delaware Park two-turn mile and I B NASTY over an odds-on daughter of a top-10 third-crop sire in a Charles Town maiden special plus even-money HOBOKEN JACK at Belmont Park – all in September and October.
Unique Unions, Union Jackson’s latest winner in an Aqueduct $70,000 maiden special on Saturday, November 20, broke on top from the seventh post among ten and never relinquished command while racing three-wide on the turn, then pulled away through the stretch. Bred by Larry F. Botting, the muscular dark bay races for Clear Stars and Mitre Box Stables – who had purchased him for $60,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s May sale of 2-year-olds – in partnership with trainer Richard Schosberg. Unique Unions is the third offspring but first juvenile winner produced from his dam.
Schosberg said Unique Unions ran a “huge race” and is “a very talented and extremely classy individual,” explaining that the relatively late-foaled youngster (April 22, 2019) had been eased in his September 25 Belmont debut because the “rider thought he felt funny switching leads and protected him.” (Belmont’s big far turn frequently confuses horses – especially 2-year-olds – about when to switch leads.) “We went over him for days and found nothing,” Schosberg continued. “We went through proper protocol, and on Saturday he read the way we thought he would. I fully expected him to do that in his debut.”
Rhymes Like Dimes, a Gulfstream Park debut winner for owner-trainer Antonio Sano’s Sano Racing Stables Inc. eight days earlier (November 12), closed from fifth place before angling four-wide on the turn and then overhauling the front-running 1.30-to-1 favorite. Like Unique Unions, Rhymes Like Dimes, who was bred by Hidden Lake Farm LLC & Fred Rosen, is the third offspring but first juvenile winner produced from his dam, who placed third twice as a 3-year-old (on turf).
I B Nasty, also bred by Hidden Lake Farm LLC, scored her maiden special victory for owner Randolph J. Guill while going 4 1/2 furlongs around the six-furlong track at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races on the evening of October 20. Breaking from the sixth post among seven, she overtook three rivals in the final furlong, blowing past the odds-on front runner in the final yards (“wins it easily,” according to the announcer).
Union Jackson, a multiple stakes-winning son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (only sire of five Grade 1 winners in 2021) and Grade 1 juvenile winner Hot Dixie Chick (half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming), improved in each of his three racing seasons. He is the leading Northeastern first-crop sire of 2021.