Belmont Champ Arcangelo Works for G1 Travers

July 27, 2023

Arcangelo Wednesday working over the Saratoga Race Course main track. (Susie Raisher)

Saratoga Race Course Notes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. –Blue Rose Farm’s Arcangelo worked five-eighths in 1:01.23 Wednesday over the Saratoga Race Course main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers slated for August 26.

Trained by Jena Antonucci and piloted through the work by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets-winner was caught by NYRA Clockers through splits of 24 1/5 and 36 2/5 before galloping out in 1:14 2/5 and 1:27 flat.

“He was great. It was a beautiful work. Javier was very pleased,” Antonucci said.

It was the third breeze over the main track here for the Arrogate grey.

“He loves it. We’re so blessed with him, he doesn’t seem to care what’s underneath him,” Antonucci said of the Saratoga surface. “He handles it beautifully. Facilities has done a great job of keeping it very consistent and he’s thriving off of that.”

Antonucci said Arcangelo has enjoyed breezing on a 10-day schedule as opposed to the more common every seven days routine.

“You have to pay attention to your horse and understand who they are,” Antonucci said. “This horse just needs that space because with his cruising speed and how he trains, he’s thrived on more of a 10-day schedule. My job is to listen and stay out of his way.”

Antonucci, who became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race, said Arcangelo maintained his weight coming out of the grueling 12-furlong “Test of the Champion” and has thrived at Saratoga.

“He held really good. He’s a good doer. He definitely hasn’t regressed at all. He’s definitely come forward,” Antonucci said. “Everything else is there – my job is to make sure that the happy and full-of-himself horse stays there.”

The $35,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase graduated at third asking in March traveling a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park with Castellano aboard for the first time. 

The talented colt stalked a sharp pace of 23.17 seconds and 45.55 set by Jonas’ Dream before making a seven-wide bid in the stretch run en route to a 3 1/2-length score in a final time of 1:34.82. The winning effort garnered a then career-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure. 

He has improved his Beyer in each start since, taking the nine-furlong Grade 3 Peter Pan [97] by a head over Bishops Bay ahead of his memorable run in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes [102], overtaking the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes-winner National Treasure at the stretch call and holding off the reigning 

Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Forte to secure a 1 1/2-length score.

Antonucci said Arcangelo, who will breeze twice more before the Travers, should have no trouble with the turnback in distance.

“We were one of the fastest miles at Gulfstream breaking his maiden, so cruising speed is definitely not an issue with him,” Antonucci said.

Out of the Tapit mare Modeling, Arcangelo’s third dam is Better Than Honour, who produced two Belmont Stakes winners in Jazil [2006] and Rags to Riches [2007]. 

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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