Categories: US

Arcangelo wins Belmont Stakes, holding off National Treasure to seal $900,000 prize

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Arcangelo wins the Belmont Stakes to make history for trainer Jena Antonucci and seal a $900,000 prize – but the day is marred by protesters amid NINE recent horse racing deaths

  • Arcangelo lit the burners down the straight to win the Belmont Stakes
  • Protesters criticized organizers with banners and chants outside the track
  • provides all the latest international sports news

Arcangelo was the 8-1 winner of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday night, fending off Forte and Tapit Trice to win the straight.

The win made history for Jena Antonucci as the first female coach to win the race in 155 years and secured the $900,000 top prize for her team.

The day saw thousands of fans descend on sunny Elmont Park in New York, with punters dressed in their best for one of the biggest days in the racing calendar.

But it wasn’t all positive, as protesters made their voices heard outside the venue’s gates, many holding up signs decrying the sport amid nine recent horse deaths.

The races were steeped in controversy last month as eight horses died at Churchill Downs and one more at Preakness, and trainer Bob Baffert came under fire amid PETA claims that “75 horses he had load are dead”.

Arcangelo, ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, crosses the finish line to win the Belmont Stakes

Protesters stand outside a front door with signs decrying the sport of horse racing

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Spectators watch horses run the home stretch of a race before the Belmont Stakes

A fan holds a sign reading ‘horses die here’ after nine recent animal deaths in other races

Arcangelo, left, is brought back to the stables with trainer Jena Antonucci (right) on Friday

Earlier in the week, race day at the Belmont Stakes was thrown into doubt amid poor air quality, with smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketing New York in dangerous smog.

There were concerns about the welfare of the horses, but the organizers went ahead with the race, which went off without controversy that day.

On the track Saturday night, as the Belmont Stakes race headed into the final mile, Arcangelo passed National Treasure and lit the burners, eventually winning comfortably.

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

Arcangelo finished the 1 1/2 mile race in 2:29.23 and 1 1/2 lengths ahead of favorite Forte, with Tapit Trice third.

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