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Arcangelo Pleases Antonucci With Santa Anita Breeze Toward Breeders’ Cup – Horse Racing News


Arcangelo, under exercise rider Robert Mallari, drills five furlongs Sunday at Santa Anita

Arcangelo, the top-rated contender for the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita, worked Sunday for the second time at the Arcadia, Calif. track with trainer Jena Antonucci in from New York to observe.

Hitting the main track shortly after 9 a.m. (PT), Arcangelo worked five furlongs in 1:00 flat under exercise rider Robert Mallari. Antonucci clocked Arcangelo’s final furlong in under 12 seconds. He galloped-out an extra two furlongs, which Antonucci clocked in “13 seconds and change” for each furlong.

“It was a serious work. A pretty work,” Antonucci said immediately after the drill. “I wanted sub-12 seconds the final furlong, which he gave me. I think I’m pretty spot-on with that. That’s what he’ll need to do on race day.”

Ten days ago at Santa Anita, Arcangelo had his first local work when going five furlongs in 1:02.20. Antonucci said the 3-year-old ridgling by Arrogate will have one more work about 10 days out from the 1 1/4-mile Classic.

“We’ll increase the pace of his gallops and just continue to do what we’re doing,” the trainer added. “For his final work we’ll see if we need to tighten something here or there or if he needs more of a lung-opener.”

In the Classic, Arcangelo will be facing older horses for the first time. His status as the likely favorite is based off victories in the third leg of the Triple Crown, the 1½-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) June 10, followed by a victory in the Travers (G1) going 1¼ miles at Saratoga Aug. 26.

With the Belmont win, Antonucci became the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race. In less than three weeks, she will try and become just the second female trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Kathy Ritvo, now retired from training, won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita with Mucho Macho Man.

“We’re just here doing what we do,” Antonucci said of her first try at a Breeders’ Cup. “I’m really a huge stay-in-the-moment kind of person. We still have a lot of work to do between now and race day. We’re just going to stay focused on that. If and when we’re blessed to be there, then we’ll lean into it and enjoy the moment.”

A $35,000 auction buy as a yearling, Arcangelo is campaigned by Blue Rose Farm. He lost his first two starts at Gulfstream Park this past winter but has since reeled off four straight victories to push his earnings $1,754,900. After graduating March 18 at Gulfstream going a one-turn mile, and immediately ahead of his Belmont victory, Arcangelo stepped up and won the Peter Pan (G3) by a head going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park.

Also working Sunday for potential starts in the Breeders’ Cup were Adare Manor for Bob Baffert, Tamara for trainer Richard Mandella, and Gold Phoenix for trainer Phil D’Amato. Adare Manor, pointed to the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on Nov. 4, went three furlongs in :36.60. It was her first work since winning the Zenyatta (G2) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita.

Tamara, the expected favorite for the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 3, went five furlongs in 1:00.20. It was her third work since winning the Del Mar Debutante (G1) going seven furlongs on Sept. 9.

Gold Phoenix, who is possible for the $4-million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) Nov. 4, worked five furlongs on the training track in 1:00.20. It was his first work since a disappointing fifth-place finish as the 6-5 favorite in the John Henry Turf Championship (G2) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita.

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