Ruis Racing LLC’s Union Strike faced American Cleopatra last out in her first career start on July 31 at Del Mar, finishing second by two lengths, but would not allow that full sister to Triple Crown champion American Pharaoh to beat her a second time on Saturday in the $300,690 Del Mar Debutante (G1).
Morganite was very eager and veered sharply into Miss Southern Miss when the gates opened before speeding up to take command. Union Strike settled into an outside stalking position in midpack under jockey Martin Garcia while American Cleopatra moved up to press the pacesetter on the outside through early splits of :22.16 and :45.25.
Morganite couldn’t hold onto the advantage and faded as American Cleopatra glided into the lead entering the turn. Champagne Room was fast on her hooves and Union Strike was beginning her run on the outside as well.
The trio converged in the stretch, but Union Strike was going best and easily swept on by. The Union Rags filly crossed under the wire 2 1/4 lengths in front of American Cleopatra while stopping the clock in 1:23.22 for seven furlongs over the fast main track.
Champagne Room just missed second by a nose and was followed under the wire by Noted and Quoted, Miss Southern Miss, Morganite and Holy Mosey.
Union Strike paid $17.40 as the 7-1 fifth choice in the seven-filly field for breaking her maiden in this spot. The Shelbe Ruis trainee has now banked $192,600 lifetime.
Bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms, Brian Kahn and Taylor Brothers Property et al, Union Strike passed through the Keeneland sales ring twice – bringing $170,000 as a November weanling and RNAing for $130,000 as a September yearling – before coming to her current connections as a $375,000 OBS Spring two-year-old in training.
Union Strike is out of the winning Smart Strike mare Classic Strike, making her a half-sister to Grade 2-scoring millionaire Handsome Mike and stakes-placed Classic Sense. This is the same female family as Grade/Group 1 hero and sire Mark of Esteem.
Union Strike photo courtesy of Benoit Photos