Arcangelo snares 155th Belmont Stakes; trainer becomes first woman to win the event

Jockey Javier Castellano, atop Arcangelo, celebrates as trainer Jena Antonucci (right) heads to the winners circle after winning the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes horse rac at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, June 10, 2023. (AP/John Minchillo)
Jockey Javier Castellano, atop Arcangelo, celebrates as trainer Jena Antonucci (right) heads to the winners circle after winning the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes horse rac at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on Saturday, June 10, 2023. (AP/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK — Arcangelo took the lead at the top of the stretch and won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, making Jena Antonucci the first female trainer to win the race in its 155 years.

After the horse crossed the finish line, Antonucci doubled over and rested her arm and her head on the back of a chair. She kissed the horse on the nose when it returned to the area in front of the winner's circle.

Arcangelo finished the 1 1/2-mile race in 2:29.23 and by 1 1/2 lengths in front of favored Fotre, with Tapit Trice third. Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire was fifth.

"I give all the credit to the horse," said jockey Javier Castello, who rode Mage to victory in the Kentucky Derby and got this 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."

The heart-warming victory put a positive note on a Triple Crown series marred by deaths of horses at Churchill Downs in the weeks around the Kentucky Derby and another on Preakness day for a trainer Bob Baffert. It also ended a week in which the Belmont Stakes was put in jeopardy by air quality problems caused by wildfires in Canada.

Those cleared on Friday and the cloud over thoroughbred racing lifted on Saturday.