Union Rags, ridden by jockey Julien Laparoux, is among the hot favorites to win the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Colt from the blue —
Union Rags has already had some success at Churchill Downs, finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile there in 2011. The colt was also third at the Florida Derby in March. "He's big, he's strong, he's fast -- so far I haven't found any faults in him. I think he's got a good chance," trainer Michael Matz said.
Kentucky champion —
Matz also trained Barbaro, who won the hearts of a nation with his stunning victory at the 132nd Kentucky Derby in May 2006.
Barbaro's triumph ... —
Matz looks on as jockey Edgar Prado celebrates Barbaro's commanding seven-length victory.
... and tragedy —
Hopes of a second-leg win in the Triple Crown were shattered after Barbaro broke early at the Preakness Stakes. He eventually started the race but misstepped early on and shattered his hind leg in more than 20 places.
A nation mourns —
Hundreds of fans signed a giant "Get Well" card for Barbaro. Although efforts were made to save the colt's leg with pioneering surgery, he eventually had to be put down.
Equestrian life —
Before he was a trainer, Matz was a world champion showjumper. He also won silver during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he carried the American flag during the closing ceremony.
Derby double? —
Now aged 61, Matz is hoping to win his second Kentucky Derby on May 5: "To know that you had one horse that could win it and possibly two -- it's a great feeling."