G3 Peter Pan-winner Arcangelo logs final breeze in prep for G1 Belmont Stakes
May 31, 2023
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G3 Peter Pan-winner Arcangelo logs final breeze in prep for G1 Belmont Stakes

by NYRA Press Office

  • G3 Peter Pan-winner Arcangelo logs final breeze in prep for G1 Belmont Stakes
  • Repo Rocks on target for G1 Metropolitan H.; Calibrate points to G2 Brooklyn
  • G1-winner Dr. Schivel under consideration for G1 Met Mile
  • Early look at probables for the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

Blue Rose Farm's Arcangelo, last-out winner of the Grade 3 Peter Pan here, worked five-eighths solo in 1:02.81 over Big Sandy on Wednesday with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.

Arcangelo entered the track through the gap and briefly stood near the finish line beside trainer Jena Antonucci and her pony, Basha. He trotted to the backstretch where he began his work and was gently coaxed along under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. NYRA clockers caught the grey son of Arrogate galloping out six-furlongs in 1:15 4/5 and seven-furlongs in 1:28 4/5. 

Castellano, who won the first leg of the Triple Crown aboard Mage, said he was pleased with the breeze as Antonucci prepares Arcangelo to travel two turns and beyond nine-furlongs for the first time in the 12-furlong "Test of the Champion."

"He's a nice, beautiful moving horse and he did it easy. He's a good work horse. In the morning, you can work him 59 if you wanted," Castellano said. "We all know that it's a mile and a half and you don't want to go crazy with a bullet work. We just give him a good foundation and I think we both agree we let him do what he wants to do in the morning and be happy.

"You can see he's a very happy horse and he goes to the post nice - very relaxed, comfortable rhythm," added Castellano. "I let him gallop out and in the turn I asked him a little bit and he took off and [had a] good open gallop. He's a big horse, long beautiful stride. He likes to reach for more ground. The farther he can go, the more he's comfortable."

Castellano said it was important for Arcangelo to finish off the work in a professional manner.

"I liked that he switched leads at the right time and the right place," Castellano said. "It was a beautiful work all the way. It was a beautiful work past the wire all the way to the turn, happy and comfortable."

Antonucci said she and Castellano agreed about the importance of a strong gallop-out. 

“It’s not a secret he hasn’t gone two turns yet and that’s the obvious conversation and we talked a lot about that,” Antonucci said. “The second half of the work was more important for me than the first half. Going off, he was super relaxed and that’s what we were looking for – I didn’t want him dragging Javier to the pole and him having to take any natural ability momentum away from him. He did that perfectly and Javier was a statue aboard the horse. We wanted to get that second turn around him and Javier was concerned to smooch at him too much.”

Antonucci said that Arcangelo is a go for the Belmont Stakes provided he emerges well from the work tomorrow. 

“Right now, he’s extremely happy and as long as his legs are tight and happy tomorrow, then we’ll give him the opportunity,” said Antonucci. “I’m hoping he keeps his feet on the ground, that will be the biggest thing. He’ll walk tomorrow. He’s not a good jogger – he gets bored. We’ll likely gallop a mile and a half [Friday], his normal. We’ll walk him around with the pony and keep him happy. We know he’s fast.” 

The lightly-raced Arcangelo has made four career starts, beginning with a pair of efforts over the winter at Gulfstream Park under Jose Ortiz that included a fourth-place finish in a one-turn mile on January 14 won by eventual Grade 2 Louisiana Derby-winner Kingsbarns. 

Castellano hopped aboard Arcangelo for the first time in the afternoon on March 18 at Gulfstream and guided the $35,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase to a 3 1/2-length score in a one-mile maiden special weight. Last out, Arcangelo stepped up into stakes company in the nine-furlong Peter Pan on May 13 and won a stirring stretch duel with the favored Bishops Bay, who entered undefeated in two starts for trainer Brad Cox.

"He passed the test and we beat a nice horse," Castellano said. "That horse, he had a couple races under his belt, and he was the favorite in the race and we hooked up together. He hesitated a little bit to go by, and then I asked him a little bit and he played a little bit and I asked him and he responded and did what he had to do."

Castellano has finished second in the Belmont Stakes on three occasions - all by narrow margins, including a three-quarter length loss aboard Stay Thirsty to Ruler On Ice in 2011; a head defeat to Tonalist in 2014 when piloting 28-1 shot Commissioner; and a nose defeat to Creator in 2016 aboard Destin.

"The last one was very painful - trust me. I was devastated because it was a dirty nose when he got beat. I thought it was a dead heat and right on the wire he beat me," said the 45-year-old resident of nearby Garden City. "That was the race I always target because my family grew up here in New York and my neighbors say, 'you ride the Belmont' and they root for me."

Castellano realized one Triple Crown dream this year when he secured a memorable first Kentucky Derby score, but the Hall of Famer had to settle for third in the Preakness with Mage, who will skip the Belmont in favor of summer targets.

The veteran rider said he has turned the page on the Preakness result and admitted that he's always had a soft spot for the improving Arcangelo.

"I fall in love with the horse the first time I worked him, wow. Before the Peter Pan, I told Jena, 'please don't forget me’ and she said, ‘you don't forget about me,'" recalled Castellano with a laugh.

Antonucci said she is taking the opportunity to start her first contender in a Triple Crown race in stride as Arcangelo looks to become the first Peter Pan winner since Tonalist [2014] to take the “Test of the Champion.” 

“They’re all special, and not the be cliché, but my job is to stay out of his way,” Antonucci said. “It [the opportunity] doesn’t fall on deaf ears. It’s special – if it’s 10 in the gate or 11 in the gate of that entire foal crop, that’s a very small percentage. So, I definitely don’t lose sight of that and I’m very blessed to have the opportunity and for the team to have the opportunity. They’ve put in a lot of work and they deserve it.” 


Repo Rocks on target for G1 Metropolitan H.; Calibrate points to G2 Brooklyn

Trainer Jamie Ness will hope to start two horses during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival as multiple graded stakes-winner Repo Rocks targets the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap and Calibrate, a new addition to his barn, eyes the 1 1/2-mile Grade 2, $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap, both on June 10.

Repo Rocks, who is campaigned by Double B Racing Stables, enters the Met Mile from a dominant victory in the local one-mile Grade 3 Westchester on May 5 where he pounced from just off the pace under Ruben Silvera and drew clear to a 5 1/4-length triumph. The effort garnered an eye-catching 109 Beyer Speed Figure, two points shy of a career-high 111 he earned for a similar performance in the Grade 3 Toboggan in January at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

Repo Rocks has worked back once since the Westchester, breezing a half-mile in 47.60 seconds in company with Calibrate on Friday at his home base of Parx Racing. 

“He’s a good work horse and always works well. Everything has been smooth,” said Ness. “He’ll work again this Saturday and if everything goes good from there, we plan on coming for the Met Mile.” 

Repo Rocks arrived in Ness’ barn in November on the heels of a six-race losing streak, all in stakes company. He then won his first four outings for Ness, taking the Let’s Give Thanks and Blitzen at Parx and the aforementioned Grade 3 Toboggan for his first career graded victory. He followed with another strong win in the Stymie at the Big A before suffering his first loss for Ness when second in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on April 8. He rebounded impressively when winning the Westchester in his next start. 

Ness said he “absolutely did not imagine” the journey Repo Rocks has taken him on in just six months. 

“I got him when he fell off form and I have a couple other horses for that owner,” said Ness. “He said maybe a change would help him, and obviously it has – we’ve won four stakes with him. I had no idea what I was getting, but I’m sure glad I got him.” 

Calibrate, owned by Engel Racing, Rick Engel, Greg Armatys and Chelsey Badura, ships east from the barn of Coty Rosin at Oaklawn Park to make his first start in the Empire State since an off-the-board effort in an allowance at Saratoga Race Course in July 2021. The gelded son of Distorted Humor won the Temperance Hill going the Brooklyn distance on April 2 at the Hot Springs oval and was last seen finishing a distant fifth in the Isaac Murphy Marathon on May 3 at Churchill Downs. 

Ness said the horse came into his care when Rosin wrapped up his Arkansas operation for the summer. 

“Coty is a friend of mine and used to work for me years ago,” said Ness. “He goes back to Canterbury Park in the summer and there really weren’t any races for the horse there, so he sent him up here to point for the Brooklyn. We’ll see what happens.”

Out of the unraced Dynaformer mare Glamour and Style, the 5-year-old Calibrate was a $340,000 purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and has amassed $355,957 in total purse earnings through a record of 25-6-5-0. 


G1-winner Dr. Schivel under consideration for G1 Met Mile

California-based Dr. Schivel, a 5-year-old Violence bay trained by Mark Glatt, could stretch out beyond seven furlongs for the first time in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 10 at Belmont Park.

The Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita. Dr. Schivel is also nominated to the Grade 2, $250,000 True North at 6 1/2-furlongs on the same card.

"It's under consideration," Glatt said of the Met Mile. "It's a one-turn mile, so it's a bit of a stretch out but not a two-turn stretch out. It depends how each race ultimately shapes up."

Owned by Red Baron’s Barn, Rancho Temescal, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and co-breeder William A. Branch, Dr. Schivel finished third in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 26, 2022 at Meydan Racecourse but returned victorious off a 14-month layoff to win a six-furlong allowance sprint on May 13 at Santa Anita that garnered a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure. 

With Juan Hernandez up, Dr. Schivel defeated fellow millionaire C Z Rocket – who finished second next out in the Grade 2 Triple Bend at Santa Anita – by 4 1/4 lengths.

Glatt said he was proud of the strong return effort and praised the bay’s class and consistency which has produced a record of 11-6-2-2 for purse earnings in excess of $1.1 million.

“We were obviously happy with the return performance. He's been perfect [since],” Glatt said. “He usually shows up with his very best and he's just a class act to be around. When you lead him over there, you have confidence he's going to give you a top effort." 

Dr. Schivel was a Grade 1 winner at 2 and 3 at Del Mar when he captured the 2020 seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity and defeated older horses in the following year’s six-furlong Bing Crosby. He was a close second to Aloha West in the 2021 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, also at Del Mar.

Glatt noted the importance of the Metropolitan Handicap as a stallion-making race.

"We all know what the Met Mile does for potential stallions. It's a signature race that's very important if he should win it," Glatt said. "If he should win either race, he'd be a graded stakes winner on both the East Coast and West Coast, so all of those things are important for him down the road eventually."

Dr. Schivel is out of the Mining for Money mare Lil Nugget, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Ultra Blend.

Early Look at the G1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap

Probable: Charge It [Todd Pletcher], Cody’s Wish [Bill Mott], Doppelganger [Brittany Russell], Far Mo Power [Louis Linder, Jr.], Hoist the Gold [Dallas Stewart], Repo Rocks [Jamie Ness], Slow Down Andy [Doug O’Neill], Taiba [Bob Baffert], White Abarrio [Rick Dutrow, Jr.]

Possible: Dr. Schivel [Mark Glatt], Zandon [Chad Brown]

Early look at the G2 True North

Probable: Anarchist [Doug O’Neill], Elite Power [Bill Mott], Fearless [Todd Pletcher], Strobe [Brad Cox], Synthesis [David Jacobson]

Possible: Dr. Schivel [Mark Glatt], Little Vic [Juan Carlos Avila], Today’s Flavor [George Weaver], Twisted Ride [Michael Moore]


Early look at probables for the G1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets


Angel of Empire / Flavien Prat / Brad Cox / Albaugh Family Stables

Arcangelo / Javier Castellano / Jena Antonucci / Blue Rose Farm

Forte / Irad Ortiz, Jr. / Todd Pletcher / Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Hit Show / Manny Franco / Brad Cox / Gary and Mary West

Il Miracolo / Marcos Meneses / Antonio Sano / Alexandres

National Treasure / John Velazquez / Bob Baffert / SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan

Raise Cain / Junior Alvarado / Ben Colebrook / Andrew Warren & Rania Warren

Red Route One / Joel Rosario / Steve Asmussen / Winchell Thoroughbreds

Tapit Trice / Luis Saez / Todd Pletcher / Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable

Possible: Tapit Shoes (Cox)

The Belmont Stakes headlines the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that features a total of 16 stakes events from Thursday, June 8 through Saturday, June 10. For additional information on the 2023 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details on hospitality offerings, ticket packages and pricing, visit BelmontStakes.com.

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