Rockport, Maine (NEWS CENTER) Maine's preeminent artist Jamie Wyeth has returned to Maine for the summer. Wyeth calls his visit to the Kentucky Derby the thrill of a lifetime and hints that his wife Phyllis' horse will run in the Belmont Stakes.
The Wyeths were on the mainland at Rockland's Farnsworth Museum for the opening of a show entitled, "Jamie Wyeth, Rockwell Kent and Monhegan." Wyeth was a fan and collector of Rockwell Kent's art. When Wyeth moved to Monhegan island in the 1960's, he bought Kent's house.
Phyllis Wyeth is a devoted horse person. She rode competitively as a young woman. Her career ended in an automobile accident and she utilizes a wheelchair to go about her work as a horse owner and breeder. She has partnered with former Olympic equestrian Michael Matz to bring Union Rags to the Triple Crown.
Union Rags is an enormous thoroughbred, standing more than seventeen hands or about 70 inches at the shoulder. He is best described as a "rambler," able to run at a very fast pace for a long distance.
At the Derby, Union Rags started in the number four hole. He was forced inside and back by the large field of horses which started on the outside. After shuffling to the back of the field, he started to move up, but was bumped twice. Finally, he was able to make a late run and did manage to pass nine horses, but was well off the pace and finished seventh.
The performance left racing fans predicting that Union Rags would skip the shorter Preakness and aim for the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Stakes is a mile-and-a-half long. It would be difficult to block a horse over that distance. Plus, there should be fewer horses in the Belmont, as the Derby tends to be cluttered with every horse that has even the slightest chance.
Union Rags, which started as the Derby favorite seems to be well suited for the Belmont Stakes. The Preakness will be run this Saturday and the Belmont takes place on June 9th.