BigDaddy News

Horse Racing News

Everyone Goes to See the Travers Winner

Foot traffic was heavy around trainer Jena Antonucci’s barn on the Oklahoma Training Track Aug. 27. That was to be expected. When you have a horse that wins the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, everyone wants to see him.

And, on this morning, a lot of people wanted to see Arcangelo .

The muscular Arcangelo had put in a day’s work on Travers Day, winning the Midsummer Derby by a length and steamrolling his way to the top of the division among 3-year-old colts, maybe an eventual Horse of the Year. 

Antonucci doesn’t need to hear that, doesn’t want to hear that. All she wanted on this day was to celebrate the accomplishments of her rapidly developing gray, who is owned by Jon Ebbert’s Blue Rose Farm.

“Zero,” Antonucci said, standing a few feet away from Arcangelo’s stall when asked how much she thought of a possible Horse of the Year award. “When you let that stuff start defining how you train and how you get a horse to the next goal, that’s when you stub toes. I said from the beginning that our job is to train him and whatever titles come along with that are secondary. We will be grateful and it will be amazing for whatever comes with that, but my focus will be on him. Period.”

Sign up for

Morning after with Arcangelo at the Jena Antonucci barn after winning the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Aug. 27, 2023.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Arcangelo at his stall the morning after winning the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course

There are no plans for another race any time soon. The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 4 is certainly a race Antonucci and her team will think about. But to commit right here? Right now?

That’s not the way they roll. Chances are that Arcangelo will be in California, but Antonucci says the decision will be made by the horse, not her.

“We will have things on the radar, and, obviously, (Breeders’ Cup) is sitting out there,” Antonucci said. “Just want to make sure he is good. He is good today, thank God. We will make sure he is in his space and thriving and we will march steps along and listen to him.”

Antonucci said that Arcangelo will stay in Saratoga for the foreseeable future. She likes it here, so does the son of Arrogate , who has won four straight races and seems to get better every time he runs. After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park March 18, he headed north and won the Peter Pan Stakes (G3) March 18 and then the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 10. He then waited 77 days before taking down the Travers.

In the Travers, he and jockey Javier Castellano got revved up on the turn, going four wide in the process. They then powered to the wire and held off the rally of Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm , who got the rail trip.

“Our gas tank was full yesterday,” Antonucci said. “He showed up and was the horse that we’ve known him to be. I think he came into this race better than he went into the Belmont.”

If the Breeders’ Cup Classic does become the goal, Antonucci said they would ship sooner rather than later.   

The next stop for Disarm could be the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing according to David Fiske, the racing manager for owner Ron Winchell, owner of Winchell Thoroughbreds.

“Going into the race, there was some talk about the Pennsylvania Derby,” Fiske said. “We’ll talk this week, regroup and come up with some sort of plan.”

Fiske said that Disarm and Magic Tap , also owned by Winchell, had been considered for Parx. Magic Tap won an allowance race at Saratoga Aug. 13.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday that no decision has been made as to where his Travers horses—third-place Tapit Trice  and fourth-place Forte  (the 8-5 favorite)—would end up.

The most disappointing effort in the Travers belonged to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage , who was never a factor and finished last in the field of six.

Trainer Gustavo Delgado and his son and assistant, Gustavo Delgado Jr., both said Sunday that Mage came out of the Travers in good shape. They do plan on running him again this year.

“We were pretty certain he was going to run well,” Delgado Jr. said at the barn. “That is the disappointment.” 


Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service


Add Field


Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video

Want To Earn From Skills ?

Bonus On New ID