Union Strike: Bred to be Classic
Union Strike: Bred to be Classic by Casey Laughter– In the Del Mar Debutante, the horse all eyes were looking to was American Cleopatra, but she proved that stakes company was tougher than a maiden field she annihilated in her first start. Instead, American Cleopatra was overtaken in the stretch to finish second behind Union Strike.
Union Strike is from the first crop of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner, Union Rags. The filly was a maiden going into the race. In her debut, she finished second behind American Cleopatra, going five and one half furlongs. The stretch to seven in the Del Mar Debutante was just what the filly needed. The distance will continue to increase, and this filly was designed to relish every step.
Union Strike has been sold three times in her lifetime. She was sold as a weanling in 2014 at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $170,000, which is nearly five times what Union Rags stands for ($35,000). As a yearling, Union Strike RNA’ed in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, only bring $130,000. She was entered in the Ocala Breeders April 2016 Spring Sale for two-year-olds in training and she was sold for $375,000, which is nearly 11 times the stud fee for Union Rags.
Pedigree plays a huge part in the potential and already achieved success of Union Strike. Her sire was a Grade One winner at age two and three, winning the Champagne and the Belmont Stakes. The only off-the-board finish Union Rags ever received was a seventh place finish in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
Union Strike is out of a Smart Strike mare, Classic Strike. She herself, however, never graduated from the allowance ranks. Her lone win came at nine furlongs over the turf. Classic Strike has produced three stakes winners out of five to race.
Union Strike’s best-known half sibling is Handsome Mike (Scat Daddy), who won only three times, but two were in graded stake company. He won the Grade Two Pennsylvania Derby and the Grade Three Commonwealth Stakes. He also finished in second or third seven times.
Union Strike will likely head to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and will likely relish the 8.5 furlongs (1-1/16th miles). The only two fillies that have won a challenge race are Pretty City Dancer and Sweet Loretta, the winners of the Spinaway Stakes. Other possible contenders are Nonna Mela and Champagne Room.
The 33rd running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. on November 4-5 and televised live by the NBC Sports Group.