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Belmont Stakes: Arcangelo wins, making Jena Antonucci 1st female trainer to take Triple Crown race

Belmont Stakes: Arcangelo wins, making Jena Antonucci 1st female trainer to take Triple Crown race

Arcangelo beat a crowded field for a historic Belmont Stakes win. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The 2023 Belmont Stakes didn't have any chance at a Triple Crown winner, but it still made history.

Arcangelo, a horse that ran in neither the Kentucky Derby nor Preakness Stakes, took home the win in New York, making his trainer, Jena Antonucci, the first woman to train a Triple Crown race-winner.

Forte, the Kentucky Derby favorite who was surprisingly scratched hours before the race at Churchill Downs, placed, while Tapit Trice, another Derby favorite, showed for third.

Arcangelo went off at 7-1 odds. He began the race toward the back of the pack, but within range of the leaders as the race entered the first turn. Preakness Stakes winner National Treasure spent much of the race in the lead, but Arcangelo remained in striking distance up until the final turn, when it surged through the inside and took a full-length lead down the stretch.

The full race:

For the fifth straight year, the Belmont Stakes was held without a chance at a Triple Crown after National Treasure beat out Mage at the Preakness. Mage, this year's Kentucky Derby winner, didn't compete Saturday, but the race still had some notable names in Forte, National Treasure, Tapit Trace and Angel of Empire, the Derby favorite after Forte was removed.

It was the relatively unknown Arcangelo who got the win, though. Arcangelo, purchased at $35,000, per Bloodhorse, was competing in his fifth race after three starts in Gulfstream Park and a win at Belmont Park's Peter Pan Stakes in May.

The win is a milestone for women in horse racing thanks to Antonucci, who was only the 11th trainer to have a horse in the Belmont Stakes at all and the first since Kathy Ritvo trained Mucho Macho Man to seventh place in 2011. Antonucci had some inspiring words after the race:

“Never give up. And if you can’t find a seat at the table, make your own table. Build your team, and never give up. You are seen, people see you, just keep working your butt off.”

Wildfires nearly stopped Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes being held in the first place might have been the upset of the week, as the status of the race was highly questionable due to air quality concerns.

Wildfires in Canada led to the cancellation of races Thursday and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned that the Belmont Stakes could see the same fate if the air quality didn't improve in time. Fortunately, Belmont saw enough improvement to proceed and got a historic moment for it.


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