Arcangelo Wins the Belmont

Arcangelo and Javier Castellano win the Belmont Stakes

Fifty years after Secretariat’s blazing run in the Belmont Stakes, we don’t have a Triple Crown winner, but we do have a few firsts. Most impressive is that Arcangel’s trainer, Jena Antonucci, became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race (the race series has been run since 1919), and his jockey, four-time Eclipse Award winner and Hall of Famer, Javier Castellano, won his first Belmont Stakes, having also won this year’s Kentucky Derby on Mage.

Arcangelo, sired by Arrowgate, ran a determined race, tracking down National Treasure who set the pace. Castellano rode a strategic race, slipping through a small opening on the rail to challenge the Preakness winner. Forte, the favorite, rallied to finish second and Tapit Trice came in third.

“He’s just figuring it all out,” Antonucci said of the Belmont winner. “He’s just a big kid. Javier [Castellano] did such a great job. There were a lot of horses taking up in the first turn and he sorted that out and got it together and on the backside made his way up the rail. We knew we wanted to get a little jump on them. We weren’t even worried about the distance. His cruising speed is just stupid, stupid fast.”

Arcangelo wins the Belmont Stakes

Jena Antonucci, started her equine career as a show jumper and spent many years retraining and developing off-the-track Thoroughbreds for their second careers. This experience motivated her to learn what is required to train a better racehorse. She moved to Ocala in 2000 to work for Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

Jena Antonucci and Arcangelo. Antonucci is the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race.

A trailblazer in the racing industry, Antonucci’s staff is mostly women. She runs a small barn, with only a few dozen horses. The Belmont marks her first Grade 1 win — what a way to announce you’ve arrived! Since 1937, 30 women had tried 47 times to win a Triple Crown race, only to come up short.

“I have an immense amount of gratitude to Jon Ebbert,” Antonucci said. “He’s a patient owner. A lot of owners could learn from his example and let a horse develop. This crazy guy gave a bunch of girls a chance.”

2 thoughts on “Arcangelo Wins the Belmont

  1. Oh, I was so proud and happy for her. I wanted Forte/Angel of Empire to win, but this was just as good. She seems so genuine. I think Fox SPorts did a terrific job on televising the race card, they spent most of their time talking horses. Unlike NBC, that seems to think that the Kentucky Derby and Preakness aren’t real sports, just a way to keep football fans hooked until fall.

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