‘All The Credit To Jena’: Belmont Winner Arcangelo Cruises To Travers Triumph

A sweeping five-wide move into the stretch propelled Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Arangelo to victory in the $1.25-million Travers (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga Racecourse, where he left fellow classic winners Mage and National Treasure as well as reigning champion 2-year-old male Forte in his wake.

The gray Arrogate colt, ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Jena Antonucci, returned $7.40 after winning by one length from Disarm while covering 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.23. Tapit Trice finished third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Forte was fourth, Preakness (G1) winner National Treasure was fifth, and Kentucky Derby (G1) victor Mage finished last of seven.

Campaigned by John Ebbert’s Blue Rose Farm, Arcangelo came into Saturday’s race following his Belmont victory 11 weeks ago. Antonucci made history in that race when becoming the first woman to saddle a winner in the 1 1/2-mile classic. He has four wins from five starts this year, including the Peter Pan (G3) May 13 in his start prior to the Belmont,  and a 4-1-0 record from six career starts. The $687,000 winner’s share of the Travers purse increased his lifetime bankroll to $1,754,900.

Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corp., Arcangelo was produced by the Tapit mare Modeling. Offered by Gainesway at the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale, he sold to Ebbert for $35,000.

Travers Quotes

Jena Antonucci, winning trainer of Arcangelo (No. 2, $7.40): “The significance of accomplishing anything in any gender at the top of any sport or industry is a gift. It doesn’t come without the team and without every single person on our team. The significance of this is hard to put into words right now.

“Anyone that wants something bad enough, you just have to work your tail off for it. It doesn’t matter — man, woman, boy, girl — that’s just white noise. If you want it, go fight for it and make it happen for yourself.”

On the 11 weeks between starts: “I get a lot of flak for that, still. That’s why I tune you guys off before the race. It just never was a layoff in my mind with this horse. I understand the traditionalists of this sport are always going to view gaps in that manner. This horse has had his entire career that way because Jon [Ebbert] wants this horse to be brought along slowly, correctly and be given the time he needs to grow up. I feel we have respected that with the horse and Jon has respected that in the horse.

“When Jon asked after the Belmont: ‘Are we good on fitness to get here without a race?’ there was no hesitation. ‘Yes, we’re fine.’ The horse did that and Javier breezing him along on our funky little 10 day schedule — it worked for us and this horse and this scenario. Like I a bit sarcastically said before, thanks for the naysayers for motivating me a little bit more. Not that we need more motivation, but we will stay focused on what works for this horse.

“I guess the more this horse does, the more we’re going to keep writing some history. Again, just immense gratitude for all this and this horse, most importantly.”

Jon Ebbert of Blue Rose Farm, winning owner of Arcangelo (No. 2): “Once he got there on top I thought he had it. Usually, he just keeps running and he’s got a huge stride. I was confident once he got that stride going in the stretch that he would be tough to beat.

“Unbelievable job by Jena. A lot of people were counting us out because of the 11 weeks [between the Belmont Stakes and the Travers] but we did the right thing.

“A complete transformation, physically and mentally [from a yearling]. He’s a completely different animal. He was beautiful then, a beautiful mover – leggy, but immature. Even the 11 weeks from the Belmont to the Travers we didn’t look at it as a layoff, we looked at it as growth and he just grew in that time.”

Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Arcangelo (No. 2): “I never give up. I always work hard for moments like this. I’ve been up and down and thank God I’ve been lucky enough to win my seventh Travers. It’s like the Super Bowl for Tom Brady. I’m so blessed to have people supporting me. When people support your career, it’s great.

“It was a little bit rough out of the gate. My horse broke well out of the gate and got a good position but everyone was in a rush and it was a bit tight. The inside horses came out, the outside horses came in. We lost a little bit of momentum and position. I didn’t have a choice, everybody outside – it seemed to me that everybody had a plan, except myself [laughs]. I thought it was going to be a nice, easy trip but when you get out there, it’s not friends. You have to earn it. Nobody gives anything to you. You have to earn it. You have to be smart and you have to ride the best horse in the race and that’s exactly what I did. I feel I had the best horse and I used my horse to get my spot in the first turn.

“I saved all the ground the first turn and little by little let it develop. On the backside, I saw three horses go to the lead. I saw two horses as my target on my handicapping of the race. I was surprised Tapit Trice [was up there] early in the first stage of the race.

“I feel like on the backside I had so much horse, I could blow by and open up by 10 and I just took my time and let him develop. I put him outside, enjoyed my ride and very lucky and thankful and blessed you guys gave me the opportunity and a lot of confidence to ride the horse and working together every single step. Working horses in the morning he built a lot of confidence in the horse. It seems to me he’s a super horse. Keep our fingers crossed, keep him sound. All the credit to Jena. She does such a good job with the horses.

“Basically, until the three-eighths pole, I just enjoyed the ride and just enjoyed the moment.”

On what a seventh Travers win means to him: “Of course, it means a lot to me because this game is up and down. I remember last year I didn’t have any horses to ride on the card. I had to go out of town. I ended up riding at Monmouth Park last year because I didn’t have any business. The year before I only rode one horse on the 14 races and it was a maiden special weight. I don’t take anything for granted in this game. You have to work hard and find the right horses and trust me seven winners means a lot to me. A lot of people gave me help to get it done. It’s not only me, my agent [PJ. Campo] put in a lot of effort, and the trainers and owners gave me the support to ride the best horses in the grounds. This game is not easy. It’s up and down. I was at the bottom. I was at the top. It’s hard. That’s why I like to enjoy the beautiful moments when you win those kind of races and those beautiful horses they put on a show and the fans and everybody really appreciate them for that.”

Joel Rosario, aboard runner-up Disarm (No. 6): “Turning for home, I kind of waited a little bit, but that horse came in a little bit. I made my way in there [inside] which was OK, he ran a big race.

“For a second I thought maybe [we would get there]. But that horse kind of at that point got the jump on us. And for a second, oh maybe we are going to get him, but he kept moving. But that was a good performance from him I think.

“He looked like he was more focused today. Yeah, I mean he ran a big race today, so we look forward to the next one.

“It looked like he was fine to stay on the rail for a little while, then he [Arcangelo] came over there and then every step of the way he got better and better so obviously the horse who won, you know he won the Belmont Stakes, so he’s one of the best horses around. But a really, really good performance from my horse.”

Steve Asmussen, trainer of runner-up Disarm (No. 6): “He’s an unbelievably nice horse. He just keeps getting better and I’m very proud of the effort he put in. He was in a tight spot and he just kept on coming. I’m very proud of him.”

Jose Ortiz, aboard third-place finisher Tapit Trice (No. 5): “Broke OK, developed good speed passing the wire. I didn’t want to take him back. I didn’t want to take that away from him. He was there, I let him be. I think he ran a good race. I know him better now, so hopefully I stay on moving forward. I think we’re going to get a big one. This is a nice horse.”

Mike Repole, co-owner of fourth-place finisher Forte (No. 1): “Arcangelo ran great. That’s two wins in a row. He ran great. Forte broke great and was in the spot I thought he wanted to be. I don’t know if Arcangelo wanted that spot more or if [jockey] Irad [Ortiz Jr.] wanted to be more off the pace. He sat back patiently and at the top of the stretch I thought we were going to circle the field and make a good run at it, and I think he just leveled out. It’s a deep track, obviously, but the best horse won.

“When you win, the track’s great. When you lose, the track sucks. There was nothing wrong with the track. It’s deep. [Jockey] Javier [Castellano] rode Arcangelo great. Jena [Antonucci, trainer] won. It’s a great day for racing. Thank God, after what happened this is the best outcome that you could have for the Travers. She deserves it. I’m not afraid to say it; that’s the top 3-year-old in the country. No doubt.

“We broke great. I don’t know why we fell out of position. Irad just said people wanted it more, so he sat back patiently and circled the field. When Irad goes five wide and wins by 10 [lengths], I’m happy. When he goes five wide and I’m fourth by five [lengths], I’m not happy. But it is what it is. Irad’s great. He flattened out in the stretch. It looked like he was going to make a move, and it didn’t come.”

Winning margin: one length

Final time (10 furlongs): 2:02.23

Fractions: :23.46, :48.10, 1:11.73, 1:36.38

Full order of finish: 2-6-3-1-5-7-4

The post ‘All The Credit To Jena’: Belmont Winner Arcangelo Cruises To Travers Triumph appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.