Angel of Empire, a bay colt foaled (born) on April 9, 2020, has been steadily gaining attention in the world of horse racing as he heads towards the 149th Kentucky Derby.
Not only is Angel of Empire a Pennsylvania-bred horse; this top contender was actually bred on a farm in Pine Grove Township, Forgotten Land Investment and Black Diamond Equine.
And Angel of Empire is not just competing in this year’s race, the Schuylkill County-bred horse is one of the Kentucky Derby’s top contenders.
If Angel of Empire is victorious at Churchill Downs on Saturday night, it’ll be the first Pennsylvania-bred horse to win the race since Smarty Jones began its triumphant run back in 2004.
You can root on Angel of Empire when he breaks out of the gate for the Kentucky Derby starting at 6:57 p.m. tonight!
The race airs on NBC. A little after 6 p.m. is when the horses leave the barn for the Paddock.
Kentucky Derby Odds
Angel of Empire is 1 of 19 horses competing in the 149th Kentucky Derby. As of Friday morning, Angel of Empire had the third best odds (8-1) of winning the Run for the Roses, behind only Forte (3-1) and Tapit Trice (5-1).
Here’s a look at the post positions and the odds of all the horses competing in this year’s Kentucky Derby:
In Pennsylvania, you can place bets on The Kentucky Derby at twinspires.com.
Kentucky Derby Jockey Silks
Each horse’s jockey will be sporting a unique racing silk for The Kentucky Derby. Angel of Empire will be jockeyed by the accomplished Flavien Prat.
According to Equibase, Prat has earned more than $135 million in his career, with 1,505 first-place finishes from 7,004 starts. In 249 starts this year, he’s racked up 51 wins, 46 second-place finishes, and 45 third-place results, a Win-Place-Show rate of 57%.
On Saturday, Prat will be atop Angel of Empire wearing a blue, gray, and white combo on his silks, with a white star on his chest.
Here’s a look at all the racing silks riders will be wearing for the 149th Kentucky Derby:
About Angel of Empire
Purchased by the Albaugh family for $70,000 – a bargain for a champion racehorse and the third lowest price paid for any of the horses in the 2023 Kentucky Derby – from the Warrendale consignment at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Angel of Empire is now trained by the esteemed Brad Cox.
Angel of Empire’s racing career took off with two victories at Horseshoe Indianapolis in 2022, with his only defeat occurring on the turf track at Kentucky Downs.
As a three-year-old, Angel of Empire began his campaign on New Year’s Day at Oaklawn Park, competing in the one-mile Listed Smarty Jones Stakes. Despite finishing second to the odds-on favorite Victory Formation, he quickly bounced back with a stunning victory at the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans. At nearly 14/1 odds, Angel of Empire won by one length, proving he was a force to be reckoned with.
Returning to Oaklawn Park, Angel of Empire displayed his prowess by winning the Grade I Arkansas Derby, one of the Road to the Kentucky Derby events. With a winning time of 1:49.68, he secured his spot in the 2023 Kentucky Derby by finishing 4 ¼ lengths ahead of the competition.
You can learn more about Angel of Empire and his humble beginnings in Pine Grove from this article at kentuckyderby.com.
About Angel of Empire’s Parents
Angel of Empire boasts an impressive lineage, being sired by Classic Empire and having Armony’s Angel as his dam.
Classic Empire, the 2016 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner at Santa Anita Park, and the 2017 Arkansas Derby champion, stands at Ashford Stud for $15,000 in 2023. Though Armony’s Angel did not experience any significant wins herself, she is the daughter of To Honor and Serve, a victor in both the Grade II Nashua Stakes and Grade II Remsen Stakes.
Angel of Empire 2023 Racing Results
In 3 races run this year prior to Saturday’s 149th running of The Kentucky Derby, Angel of Empire has 2 wins and a second-place running. The bay colt has won its last 2 races, including the important precursor race, The Arkansas Stakes.
Let’s take a look at the race results from Angel of Empire in the trots leading up to the 2023 Kentucky Derby.
PLACE: Smarty Jones Stakes – January 1, 2023
Angel of Empire’s stablemate Victory Formation was able to glide to victory at the Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day earlier this year.
The horse bred in Pine Grove, Angel of Empire, placed in the race after running an impressive race.
WIN: Risen Star Stakes – February 18, 2023
Angel of Empire ran an impressive final 1/16 in the Risen Star Stakes back in February and eked out the win over Sun Thunder and Two Phil’s.
WIN: The Arkansas Derby – April 1, 2023
In the final major tune-up for The Kentucky Derby, Angel of Empire dusted the competition down the stretch and comfortably won The Arkansas Derby.
That win really propelled Angel of Empire into the contender discussion in the Run for the Roses on Saturday.
Featured image: Midjourney