We are less than a month away from the Kentucky Derby 2023 now, and things are getting exciting, all racing enthusiasts and bettors are focused hard on the 2023 Derby lineup. It is no surprise that we are all hooked on the line-up for this year, however.
With a star horse like Angel of Empire set to run the tracks, we are all high on our hooves in anticipation.
Angel of Empire was sold for $70,000 as a yearling, and he made his first career start at Horseshoe Indianapolis. However, with a modest resume like this, it works for his owner, Jason Loutsch. Their goal was always to make it to the Kentucky Derby. And… They’ve made it!
This is a horse to have your eyes on, keep reading to find out more!
What We Know About Angel Of Empire
After Angel of Empire won his career debut at a mile on August 9th at Horseshoe Indianapolis, he is now heading to the Kentucky Derby after he steadily climbed the 3-year-old ranks over the last 5 months.
This has been punctuated by an incredible 4 ¼ length victory in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn recently.
He marked the second consecutive Arkansas Derby victory for Brad Cox (trainer) and Flavien Prat (jockey), as well as Albaugh Family Stables.
Albaugh now has 3 Kentucky Derby starters, Brody’s Cause, who came 7th in 2016, J Boys Echo who came 15th in 2017, and Free Drop Billy who came 16th in 2008.
However, Angel of Empire received a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 94, which is a career-high for him, in his victory at the 1 1/8th mile Arkansas Derby. He had previously won an entry-level allowance race at 1 mile on November 14th at Horseshoe Indianapolis and also finished 2nd in the $250,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn.
He also won the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/8 mile on February 18th at Fair Grounds.
Performance So Far
Angel of Empire managed to capture the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds and compiled 154 points for the Kentucky Derby, which is second on the list, just behind Champion Forte, who has 190.
This horse will be given the distinction of winning a pair of 1 ⅛ mile points races into the Kentucky Derby, which will be run over 1 ¼ miles. Although the added ground may not sound great, it is believed by his trainer, Cox, that this should suit him.
He has a lot of legs and is well-sized with good length. He is a classic distance horse.
Preparing For The Kentucky Derby
Angel of Empire has got a lot going for him and for his owner and trainer. The Arkansas Derby pushed his earnings over the $1,000,000 mark, and the race was more of a prep, in multiple ways for the horse who was a cheap $70,000 purchase in 2021.
His trainer thinks Angel of Empire has the mind to handle the atmosphere that comes with the Kentucky Derby, unlikely to get worked up.
As long as everything goes to plan, it is hoped that Angel of Empire will have 3 works in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby. However, Cox also has other 3-year-old prospects as well.
Verifying has started in the BlueGrass at Keeneland, and Slip Mahoney and Hit Show are both on target for Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial.
Angel of Empire was bred in Pennsylvania by Black Diamond Equine Corporation and Forgotten Land Investment, and he passed through the auction ring on 2 occasions. He was a $32,000 RNA as a weanling, however, he ended up selling for $70,000.
He is the serve foal out of the To Honor and Serve mare Aromy’s Angel.
He rallied from off the pace in his Indiana debut, however, he finished unplaced on the Kentucky Downs before he closed out his 2-year-old season with an allowance triumph of 6 ¼ lengths at Indiana in November.
This epic horse, the son of Classic Empire, preceded his Risen Star success in his performance at Smart Jones S.
His Brisnet Speed figures have shown to be 69-86-86-97 on his first 4 tries on the dirt, so it does show some potential.
His pedigree is also hopeful with stamina influences on both sides, and he possesses a unique running style that shows he can run longer and longer as he develops.
It will be interesting to see Angel of Empire perform at the Kentucky Derby, he is not certain to win, but fans, as well as his owner and trainer, are all very hopeful that he will do well. He is constantly showing improvement, and he has taken a lot of wins so far in his career.
However, he is certainly a colt to keep your eyes on!