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Arcangelo ‘Maintaining Bottom Line Fitness’ For Breeders’ Cup Classic – Horse Racing News

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Arcangelo works at Saratoga on July 26, 2023

Blue Rose Farm’s dual Grade 1-winner Arcangelo breezed five-eighths Friday over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 4 at Santa Anita Park.

Trained by Jena Antonucci and piloted through the breeze by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, the Arrogate grey worked solo at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

“Lovely 5/8 maintenance breeze today for #Arcangelo on the Oklahoma track in Saratoga. 103.25 with a gallop out in a smooth 117.13,” noted Antonucci on X [the website formerly known as Twitter].

A maiden winner at third asking in March at Gulfstream Park, Arcangelo won his stakes debut in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Peter Pan in May at Belmont before taking the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 10 as Antonucci became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race. The 1 1/2-length score over the reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Forte provided Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano with a first win in the “Test of the Champion.”

Arcangelo trained up to Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course and 11 weeks after his Belmont coup he cemented his place atop the 3-year-old division with a one-length score over Disarm. The victory marked a record-extending seventh Travers score for Castellano following victories with Bernardini [2006], Afleet Express [2010], Stay Thirsty [2011], V.E. Day [2014], Keen Ice [2015] and Catholic Boy [2018].

Antonucci, who is currently in Florida where she has a number of horses entered at Gulfstream Park, watched video of the breeze which was the second for Arcangelo following his Travers score having worked a half-mile in 47.62 seconds on September 12 over the Spa main track under exercise rider Robert Mallari.

“Everything was good. It was what we were looking for – it was just a maintenance work today. It’s too soon for serious stuff,” Antonucci said. “He had one previous breeze after the race and this one is just maintaining bottom line fitness for him.”

Antonucci said she was pleased that Castellano made the trip to Saratoga for the breeze as Arcangelo is slated to ship to California on Wednesday.

“I think it was important for Javier as well knowing our next move is out to California and that will make it harder for him,” Antonucci said. “He and Robert have a very good relationship and can communicate very well about how the horse is doing and feeling. I think it was good for everybody to let Javier get a good feel of him after the Travers and make sure he was happy with where everything is.”

Arcangelo, a $35,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, has banked in excess of $1.7 million through a record of 6-4-1-0.

Antonucci said the sizable ridgling has exited his Travers score in good order.

“He does continue to mature and take his work very seriously,” Antonucci said. “I think he’s enjoying it and having a lot of fun with everything. Our focus is that he maintains that mindset and is thriving in what we’re asking of him.

“He’s a tall drink of water and you can physically see he continues to put more body on and hasn’t lost weight with the races,” Antonucci added. “So, he’ll just continue to mature out as he’s supposed to do.”

Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation, Arcangelo is out of the Tapit mare Modeling, whose second dam, Better Than Honour, produced Belmont Stakes winners Jazil [2006] and Rags to Riches [2007].

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