Meet The Cast
Phyllis Wyeth's Union Rags
Union Rags is a 3-year-old thoroughbred racehorse owned by Phyllis Wyeth and raised on her beautiful Point Lookout Farm. The offspring of Tempo and Dixie Union, Union Rags remains the favorite to win the 2012 Kentucky Derby, despite some occasional stumbles en route to the big dance. Pick him out of the field as the blur of speed with a white blaze and three white socks.
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Phyllis Wyeth is the proud owner of Union Rags, a horse born from her Mills' family lineage. Phyllis was a fearless steeplechase rider in her youth, but at the age of 20 she suffered a broken neck in a car accident that left her with little use of her legs. Always fearless, she became a champion carriage driver instead. She has carried that same resilient character into a life of working with horses and has been rewarded with one of the most promising young racehorses in recent memory, Union Rags.
Among the most respected trainers in horse racing and best known as the trainer for Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Michael Matz has been charged with shaping the development of Union Rags. In addition, Michael has an amazing personal biography. A great Olympic show jumper, Michael was given the honor of carrying the flag in the 69' closing ceremonies partly because of his impressive career and partly because he heroically saved four children from the burning wreckage of an airplane crash.
Jamie Wyeth is a great American painter from a line of famous artists including his father Andrew Wyeth and grandfather, N.C. Wyeth. Jamie married Phyllis in 1968 and has used her as a subject in a number of paintings, finding her strong, determined and somewhat elusive. While not working as closely with horses as his wife, he has led Union Rags into the winner's circle and beautifully described the experience, saying, "It's like I have fire in my hands."
Across the valley from Point Lookout is Greenbriar Farm, run by Katie Bacher. It is there that Tempo, mother of Union Rags, lives in quiet retirement. Katie was able to watch first-hand as the goofy, gangly, young colt Union Rags grew into the formidable racehorse he is today. She will also have the chance to see him run the 2012 Kentucky Derby thanks to a Christmas gift from her boyfriend, a beautiful Derby hat with two tickets to Churchill Downs tucked inside.
As veteran sportwriter, Dick Jerardi himself will tell you he's written "6,000 pieces for The Daily News, and every once in a while there's one that really stands out." Dick has covered every Triple Crown race since 1987 and every Breeders Cup since 1986. His long experience with horse racing and expertise in the Sport of Kings has led to some beautiful and insightful stories including "A Perfect Union", the article that helped inspire this film.
Katie Bacher's Tempo
Tempo is a tough broodmare who brushed off a near death experience delivering her 7th foal to breed one last time and give us her 8th, Union Rags. Her first seven foals were good horses. Combined they entered 116 races, with 20 wins, 18 seconds and 17 thirds, banking $609,032 between them. Good numbers, but far from suggestive of her last foal's potential. Tempo now lives in quiet retirement at Greenbriar Farm in the care of Katie Bacher.
Russell Jones knows horses. A life-long devoted friend and advisor to Phyllis Wyeth, 76-year-old Russell has worked with equine bloodlines for many years. He founded Walnut Green bloodstock agency in 1980 and through that company helped countless people with the business of breeding and raising horses. These days, if you want Russell, call him on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. He's fox-hunting the other days.
Michael Matz's assistant trainer, Peter Brette was a top jockey in Europe and champion rider in Dubai before coming to the United States. Peter had the heart-breaking privilege of working with Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro until the horse's untimely demise in 2007. He now rides Union Rags during his morning workouts and has finally found a horse that stands strong in comparison to that tragic champion.
Juan Diego Martinez
Waiting to welcome Union Rags home when Phyllis Wyeth regained the impressive two-year-old was the manager of Point Lookout Farm, Juan Diego Martinez. Juan was the first person to ride Union Rags. He was the first to run him and probably the first to realize what an amazing horse he would become.