By US Racing Team
The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) is the final leg of the Triple Crown. The 155th running of the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” is Saturday, June 10. US Racing will be publishing profiles on all the contenders, including updated versions with odds and post-positions following the gate draw on Tuesday, June 6.
Trainer Brad Cox is perfect in the Belmont Stakes – 1-for-1 with Essential Quality’s victory in the 2021 edition.
It looks like he’ll go with a three-pronged attack to try and make it 2-for-2 with Angel of Empire and Hit Show, who finished third and fifth, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and new shooter Tapit Shoes.
Angel of Empire is considered among the top 3-year-olds in the country along with Derby winner Mage and Florida Derby (G1) winner Forte.
Sent off as the 4-1 favorite in the Run for the Roses, Angel of Empire finished 1 ½ lengths behind Mage and a half-length behind runner-up Two Phil’s.
That puts the Arkansas Derby (G1) winner as the best Derby finisher in the Belmont. He’s worked twice since the Derby, the most recent a 5-furlong breeze in 59.80 seconds at Churchill Downs on May 27.
In the Derby, Angel of Empire moved from 10th to third from the quarter pole into the stretch for a solid finish despite bumping with Raise Cain in mid-stretch.
“Angel of Empire ran well. It was a hot pace. Down the backside he had a few beat,’’ Cox said. “I don’t know where the winner was laying. We had a little bit of excitement down the lane. I thought he (Angel of Empire) had a shot.”
As for the added distance in the Belmont, Cox said, “Given another quarter mile at Belmont next Saturday, (we’re) looking forward to the opportunity.”
Angel of Empire also won the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds and has four victories in seven starts.
Give the son of Classic Empire a solid chance to win this one.
Post position: 8
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Owners: Albaugh Family Stables, LLC
Career record: 7-4-1-1
Career earnings: $1,369,375
Best Equibase speed figure: 106
Pedigree: Classic Empire- Anthony’s Angel, by To Honor and Serve
Running style: Closer
Notes: Angel of Empire was purchased for $70,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale … This will be the Albaugh Family Stables third Belmont – the owners ran sixth with Brody’s Cause in 2016 and seventh with Free Drop Billy in 2018 … Prat ran second in 2021 aboard Hot Rod Charlie and fourth aboard We the People in 2022.
|1||Tapit Shoes||3-1||Brad H. Cox||Jose Ortiz|
|2||Tapit Trice||3-1||Todd A. Pletcher||Luis Saez|
|3||Arcangelo||8-1||Jena M. Antonucci||Javier Castellano|
|4||National Treasure||5-1||Bob Baffert||John R. Velazquez|
|5||Il Miracolo||30-1||Antonio Sano||Marcos Meneses|
|6||Forte||5-2||Todd A. Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.|
|7||Hit Show||10-1||Brad H. Cox||Manuel Franco|
|8||Angel of Empire||7-2||Brad H. Cox||Flavien Prat|
|9||Red Route One||15-1||Steve M. Asmussen||Joel Rosario|
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.