Man o' War Stakes 2023: Red Knight nailing his first G1 success

They say you’re as old as you feel – Red Knight feels pretty good at the age of nine and showed it when nailing his first G1 success in the feature Man o’ War Stakes 2023 at Belmont Park on Saturday. Elsewhere at the ‘Big Sandy’ there was a double for Bill Mott thanks to Caramel Swirl (G3 Vagrancy) and Candy Man Rocket (G3 Runhappy), while Belmont Stakes possible Arcangelo made his stakes breakthrough in the G3 Peter Pan.

Preakness Stakes Odds

Vagrancy Stakes

G3, $175,000, 6 1/2f, 4yo+ females, Sunday

Sweet success for Caramel

Bill Mott did it again, 24 hours after victory with the rebounding Candy Man Rocket, when he sent out Caramel Swirl to beat Dr B and Rossa Veloce in the Vagrancy at Belmont Park on Sunday, another rebounder to slam-dunk it this time.

Vagrancy Stakes Race Video


Caramel Swirl easily wins the G3 Vagrancy Stakes #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse#Sport #FYP

♬ original sound – horseracingtote – horseracingtote

Caramel Swirl had run one of the worst races of her life last time, but the 2-1 second-choice made amends in style. She made smooth headway from the rear around the turn and ran down the front-running Rossa Veloce inside the final furlong, easing away to win dialled down by two and a half lengths. The favoured Dr B rallied past Rossa Veloce to nip second by three-quarters of a length.

“She’ll be an even better horse this year,” said jockey Junior Alvarado. “Six and a half to seven furlongs is just right – she’s quick but needs time to get into a rhythm.”

This made it five-for-13 lifetime for the Union Rags mare, who may now get a shot at the G2 Bed o’Roses back here over seven furlongs on June 17.

Vagrancy Stakes Payouts

1. Caramel Swirl6.403.302.70
2. Dr B 3.102.40
3. Rossa Veloce  3.10

Winning time: 1m 16.98s

Man o’ War Stakes

G1, $600,000, 1m 3f turf, 4yo+, Saturday

Plenty of fight in Knight

Everyone loves a golden oldie, and there was a lot of love for Red Knight after the nine-year-old turned back the years to win the Man o’War at Belmont Park on Saturday, his first victory at G1 level gained at the main expense of Soldier Rising and the longshot Strong Tide.

Very few horses win a G1 at Red Knight’s age, but the 5-1 second-choice has taken on a new lease of life in the last 12 months and came from last to first to score, as odds-on British shipper Warren Point failed to fire after running keenly, finishing fifth.

Man o’ War Stakes Race Video


The Man O’ War was taken by Red Knight #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Sports #FYP #Horses #Horse

♬ original sound – horseracingtote – horseracingtote

Irad Ortiz kept Red Knight well away from Channel Maker’s steady fractions until moving forward around the turn, coming five wide with a challenge. There were three across the track a furlong out, but Red Knight ran them all down and drove clear to win by a length and a half from the rallying Soldier Rising, with Strong Tide a head further back in a bunch finish for the minor honours.

“He has a huge stride,” said Ortiz. “By the quarter-pole he was into it so I didn’t get in his way, just tipped him out and he did the rest.”

Red Knight is now 12-for-34 in his long and occasionally glorious career, and trainer Mike Maker may send him for the G1 Manhattan, back here over a furlong shorter, on June 10.

Man o’ War 2023 Stakes Payouts

1. Red Knight12.806.204.40
2. Soldier Rising 8.406.30
3. Strong Tide  12.20

Winning time: 2m 13.74s

Peter Pan Stakes

G3, $200,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, Saturday

Arcangelo grows up in Peter Pan

The Peter Pan played out in a stretch duel that brought spectators to the edge of their seats, with stakes debutant Arcangelo eventually getting the better of favourite Bishops Bay in a thrilling finish.

Bishops Bay was on the front end throughout, while 5-2 second-choice Arcangelo sat chilly under Derby-winning jockey Javier Castellano until moving to hook up with the front-runner at the three-sixteenths pole. The fight began, nose to nose, with Bishops Bay taking a clear advantage at the sixteenth-pole before Arcangelo dug in hard to nail him in the last three jumps, getting it by a head. There were eight and three-quarter lengths of daylight back to Henry Q in third.

Peter Pan Stakes Race Video


Arcangelo wins the G3 Peter Pan #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Sports #FYP #Horses #Horse

♬ original sound – horseracingtote – horseracingtote

“He’s still a kid figuring it all out,” said trainer Jena Antonucci. “This is a small operation and we’ll place the horse where he’s telling us he wants to go.”

That might be the G1 Belmont back here on June 10, the final leg of the Triple Crown, for which Arcangelo has his entry fees waived following this victory. The son of Arrogate runs as though he could stretch out towards the mile and a half, but Castellano may not take the ride. There’s another horse called Mage, you see.

Peter Pan Stakes Payouts

1. Arcangelo7.503.903.20
2. Bishops Bay 3.503.00
3. Henry Q  4.20

Winning time: 1m 49.71s

Runhappy Stakes

G3, $175,000, 6f dirt, 4yo+, Saturday

Candy Man certainly can

Always forgive a horse one bad run. That was the message coming out of the Runhappy, in which Candy Man Rocket rebounded off a poor showing to beat Twisted Ride and Stage Left for his fourth win in his last five starts.

The 5-2 second-choice had lost the plot and the race in the paddock at Oaklawn on his previous start, but it all went smoothly here under Junior Alvarado. He stalked a fast pace, came to challenge at the eighth-pole and kept on resolutely to beat Twisted Ride by a length and a half, with Stage Left a half-length back in third and the favourite Beren fading into fifth after being a part of the pace set-up.

Runhappy Stakes Race Video


The G3 Runhappy was taken by Candy Man Rocket #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse#Sport #FYP

♬ original sound – horseracingtote – horseracingtote

“He showed up this time,” said trainer Bill Mott of the five-year-old, who spent almost a year on the sidelines before returning to the track in January. “The other day, he just spit it out. He can run, he just has to have the right trip.”

Runhappy Stakes Payouts

1. Candy Man Rocket7.404.203.50
2. Twisted Ride 6.704.50
3. Stage Left  4.50

Winning time: 1m 09.33s

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