Arcangelo after his gritty victory in the Peter Pan (Walter Wlodarczyk)
NYRA Press Office
ELMONT, N.Y.— There were a few tense moments for Blue Rose Farm’s Arcangelo down the stretch of Saturday’s Grade 3 Peter Pan as he battled furiously with Bishops Bay and briefly lost the lead to the post-time favorite one-sixteenth from the finish.
But the Jena Antonucci-trained Arcangelo dug in strongly under urging from Hall of Famer Javier Castellano to claim the nine-furlong test for sophomores by a head, providing Antonucci with her second career graded victory. Arcangelo was awarded a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. Bishops Bay finished second with Henry Q a distant third.
Antonucci said Arcangelo was happy and sound the morning after making his graded stakes debut a winning one.
“He was eating to the bottom of his feed tub and everything is wonderful,” said Antonucci. “I’m just grateful for the horse and his effort, and for the owner. It’s nice to watch a horse go out there and lay it down the line. It’s cool.”
Arcangelo entered the Peter Pan from a strong third-out graduation on March 18 at Gulfstream Park where he stalked and pounced to a 3 1/2-length victory under Castellano. Out of the unraced Tapit mare Modeling, Arcangelo’s second dam is the three-time winning mare Teeming, a half-sister to Belmont Stakes-winners Jazil and Rags to Riches. He sold for $35,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Antonucci said Arcangelo has flourished when allowed to dictate his own pace in training.
“We finished the breaking and training process with him and he was very much a handful early on – a very immature kid,” said Antonucci. “But we stayed out of his way to let him put himself together and it’s all up to him.”
The Peter Pan is the traditional local prep for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 10, a race that Arcangelo’s pedigree suggests would suit him. However, Antonucci said she will take her time and let the horse decide what the next move will be.
“The Belmont is part of the conversation, but we don’t have a decision on anything,” said Antonucci. “Distance has never been an issue and that’s why we haven’t rushed with him. He’s probably a better 4-year-old than a 3-year-old. We just want it to come together how it needs to. If he’s got two feet in the air and two on the ground a few weeks from now and it looks like he’s saying, ‘put me back in, coach,’ then we’ll do that. If he says to wait a minute, then we will.”
Arcangelo now boasts a 4-2-1-0 record with total purse earnings of $167,400. He returned $7.50 for a $2 win ticket.