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.
Anyone who’s ever used a highly touted algorithm to bet on a horse, only to watch said horse finish up the track, is likely familiar with the phrase Mark Twain popularized lo, these many years: “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Which brings us to the intriguing entry of Arcangelo, a drop-dead gorgeous son of champion Arrogate who enters the Belmont Stakes with a first-time trainer, a Hall of Fame jockey riding an 0-14 streak in the 1 ½-mile race, and no experience around two turns, let alone the two turns of Belmont’s massive track.
Whilst few people are familiar with Jena Antonucci, she is a multiple graded-stakes winning trainer, having taken the Turf Monster (G3) at Parx in 2016 and, most recently, the Peter Pan (G3) at Belmont with Arcangelo. This will be her first foray in the Belmont Stakes, but that is scarcely a negative. In the past half-century, trainers such as Lou Rondinello (Little Current, 1974), Joe Cantey (Temperence Hill, 1980), Louie Roussel (Risen Star, 1988), Tim Richey (Afleet Alex, 2005), Tim Ice (Summer Bird, 2009) and Kelly Breen (Ruler On Ice, 2010) have taken the “Test of the Champion” on their first try. Heck, even Brad Cox, who will be saddling a trio in the Belmont Stakes, won on his first (and only other) attempt in 2021 with Essential Quality.
Then there is the matter of Arcangelo, whose maternal grandfather is Tapit, who, in addition to being an all-around great sire, was the leading broodmare sire of graded stakes winners in 2022, along with having four Belmont Stakes winners among his progeny: Tonalist, Creator, Tapwrit and more recently Essential Quality.
Along with his racing genes, Tapit also has passed along another noteworthy feature to Arcangelo: his gray color. Plus or minus? Since 1895, only four gray horses have won the Belmont Stakes: Belmar (1895), Native Dancer (1953), Creator (2016), and Essential Quality (2021).
Post position: 3
Trainer: Jena Antonucci
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Owner: Blue Rose Farm
Career record: 4-2-1-0
Career earnings: $167,400
Best Equibase speed figure: 97
Pedigree: Arrogate-Modeling, by Tapit
Running style: Closer
Notes: In his final serious move for the Belmont, Arcangelo worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.81 under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano on May 31 … Castellano, who won the first leg of the Triple Crown aboard Mage, said he was pleased with the breeze as Antonucci prepares Arcangelo to travel two turns and beyond 9 furlongs for the first time in the 12-furlong Belmont … Castellano has finished second three times in the Belmont, aboard Stay Thirsty (2011), Commissioner (2014) and Destin (2016) … In the modern era, four Peter Pan winners have come back to add the Belmont: Tonalist (2014), A.P. Indy (1992), Danzig Connection (1986), and Coastal (1979).
|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.