07/03/2012 12:21PM

Yonkers: Archangel hopes to score the upset in Yonkers Trot final

Mike Lizzi
Archangel has a tough task in the $445,594 final.

He's the best 3-year-old trotter racing in New York looking to win the best race for 3-year-old trotters in New York.

Such is the Reader's Digest résumé of Archangel, who prepares for another Yonkers Raceway work night, this time in Saturday's 58th Yonkers Trot.

For what it's worth, his name is alphabetically first among the field, which includes world champion Googoo Gaagaa, Market Share, Muscolo and Stormin Normand.

Then again, Archangel has made "first" his modus operandi, finishing first in his last five races entering the 58th Yonkers Trot.

The son of Credit Winner has run roughshod over his rivals this season, with the biggest portion of his $189,112 on account earned in the $233,250 final of the last month's Empire Breeders Classic at Vernon Downs (life-best 1:53 1/5). Jim Morrill Jr.--Archangel's driver in 10 of last 11 purse starts--reprises the role Saturday.

"(Archangel) has been everything we could have hoped for," said trainer Peter Arrigenna, who co-owns the $120,000 Harrisburg yearling with Alan Hainsworth and Clare Semer.

"I love working with young trotters," Arrigenna said. "I can teach them what to do and what not to do from day one.

"Last season, Archangel showed me a lot (three wins, six seconds and a third in 13 starts, earnings of $135,193). He had the speed, but he would occasionally pull himself up. He just needed to grow up.”

Though all of his wins came against Empire State competition, including a sire stakes win here last September, Archangel did test open waters. He finished second in his Breeders Crown elimination and sixth in the final, with both races won by Uncle Peter.

"I took the trotting hobbles off this season, because I didn't think he needed them," Arrigenna said. "It's worked out. He's more mature, and he can reach out his stride even further. I also added earplugs with him.”

This is not Arrigenna's first rodeo with a good trotter. His Tuesdays with Mom won the 2010 final of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, earnings in excess of $468,000 for her career before being euthanized (colic) last December.
"I see a lot of her in Archangel. He knows what he's out there for. That may not sound like a big thing, but I've been around enough that didn't to make me appreciate it. He's also a horse who doesn't make it hard on himself. He just goes about his business. I have no idea how fast he really is.”

A Yonkers Trot trip was always on the radar.

"Definitely," Arrigenna said. "I know my horse can get around a small track, and he's earned the right to be there with the best.

“There are only five in there, but when you go against Googaa Gaagaa and Stormin Normand, there's a lot of talent.

"We're looking at the Grand Circuit for the rest of the season. He's eligible to all the Triple Crown races, the Colonial, Zweig, Canadian Trotting Classic, Breeders Crown and Matron.

"We even started to look down the road to standing him. He has all the credentials, except winning a major race."

That may change sooner rather than later. 

Post positions for both the $445,594 Yonkers Trot and $185,194 Hudson Filly Trot shall be drawn Tuesday night in Yonkers Raceway's winner's circle.

The draws for Saturday night's pair of stakes races are scheduled after Tuesday's sixth race and can be viewed online at www.yonkersraceway.com/livevideo/.

(edited release)