ELMONT, N.Y. — Arcangelo won the 155th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, capturing the final jewel of the Triple Crown and making Jena Antonucci the first female trainer to win the race.
Arcangelo, an 8-1 shot, rallied down the stretch to beat Forte by 1 1/2 lengths. Antonucci was the 11th female trainer to saddle a horse in the Belmont, and Saturday’s victory was her first Grade 1 triumph.
Arcangelo passed Preakness winner National Treasure midway through the race and then held off race favorite Forte at the wire to capture the 1 1/2-mile race in 2:29.23. Tapit Trice finished third.
Antonucci’s victory as a trainer came 30 years after Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race. Krone rode Colonial Affair to victory at the Belmont in 1993, USA Today reported.
“I don’t know if we have words right now,” Antonucci said after the race. “I’m gonna need a minute on all this.
“We’re still trying to soak all this in. I’m so proud of the horse right now.”
Jockey Javier Castellano broke an 0-for-20 drought at the Belmont Stakes.
“I give all the credit to the horse,” Castellano, who rode Mage to victory in the Kentucky Derby and got Arcangelo as a mount when that colt did not run in the Belmont. “This is a wonderful horse. I’m really happy for her, you know, she’s a really good woman. She’s a good horseman.”
Nine horses, led by 2-year-old champion Forte and National Treasure, were challenged by the grueling 1 1/2-mile test of champions at Belmont Park.
National Treasure led for most of the race before Arcangelo made his move.
Forte, who was a scratch at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, was a 2-1 favorite at post time. Angel of Empire, who finished third at the Derby, was at 7-2. Preakness winner National Treasure and Tapit Trice were at 5-1.
To say that the Belmont Stakes was run under a cloud would have been an understatement. The horse racing industry has been jolted by the deaths of a dozen horses at Churchill Downs during and after last month’s Kentucky Derby. Belmont Park, like much of the New York metropolitan area this week, was affected by smoky, acrid clouds that blew down from Canada due to wildfires in Quebec.
Racing at Belmont Park was scratched on Thursday due to poor air quality, according to The Associated Press. But the Long Island track reopened on Friday and was ready for the Belmont Stakes.
The track record for the Belmont Stakes – 2:24 – was set 50 years ago by Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who won by 31 lengths.
Forte, the 2-year-old champion, was running in his first Triple Crown race on Saturday after missing the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes with a foot injury that was discovered on the morning of the Derby.
Winning a Belmont without racing for 10 weeks had never been done, according to the Daily Racing Form. It did not happen Saturday.
Bob Baffert was trying for two Triple Crown races in a row after National Treasure won the Preakness. Baffert missed the Kentucky Derby due to a suspension after Medina Spirit failed a drug test after winning the 2021 Run for the Roses.
Brad Cox had three horses in the race with Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire and Hit Show.