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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing’s Concrete Rose made her 1/5 favoritism seem like a gift after she breezed free and easy to victory in Friday’s inaugural running of the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes.
Breaking from post 5 as the prohibitive bettors’ choice under Julien Leparoux, Concrete Rose found herself alone on the lead and proceeded to walk the dog. After a turtle-like opening 1/4-mile in :25.58 and a 1/2-mile in :51.41 while unpressured, Concrete Rose began to quicken the pace down the backside.
Still yet to be challenged heading into the far turn, Concrete Rose continued to cruise at an easy clip before Coral Beach finally took first aim at the leader. Olendon soon followed suit and was second at the top of the stretch, but Leparoux waited until midway home before unleashing his filly.
Responding to the slight cue, Concrete Rose blew the field away, crossing with a 4 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:55.34 for the 1 3/16-mile event over the firm turf course.
“They gave me the race in the first part of it,” Leparoux said. “We ran very slow, but she finished very strong. She’s a very special filly and I’m very excited to be riding her. On paper, it didn’t look like there was any speed. She’s a very easy filly to ride, so I went for the lead and if someone else wanted to go, I could take back. It’s one of those things where they let me go easy and that was it. I was very confident the whole way around and I knew she was going to kick home. I’m very happy for the connections, there’s a lot of people here that love her.”
Happen got her nose up for second over Kelsey’s Cross, while Coral Beach was a head behind her. Olendon was 3/4 lengths back to complete the order of finish. Her Royal Highness was scratched.
Concrete Rose’s win extended her win streak to four, all coming in 2019 at the stakes level, and increased her lifetime bankroll to $1,218,650. The 3-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy has lost only once in eight starts, coming in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs.
“It was a nice year for me to come up with a nice horse,” said trainer Rusty Arnold. “We’re excited. She’s so easy. I’m just on for the ride.”
Already the winner of the Belmont Oaks (G1), the first leg of the Turf Tiara series, Concrete Rose will head back to Belmont Park to attempt the sweep in the Jockey Club Oaks on September 7.
“She handled the month turnaround really well,” Arnold said. “The (Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup [G1]) has always intrigued me a lot. That was the plan at the beginning of the year. However, it is going to be tough not to try to win these three races the first year they have it. To win all three, that would be awful special, so there will be a lot of talking going on.”
Concrete Rose returned $2.60 to win and $2.10 to place, while Happen brought back $3.50 to place. There was no show betting.
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