ELMONT, NY – Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing’s Concrete Rose continued her stellar 2019 run on Saturday when she took over in midstretch and took off strongly to take the $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 4 under Julien Leparoux as the 5/2 second choice, Concrete Rose was forwardly-placed and stalked from second as the Japanese invader Jodie posted opening fractions of :24.29, :49.16, 1:14.14, and 1:37.79. Slowly advancing alongside the pacesetter through the far turn while the 8/5 favorite Newspaperofrecord gave chase three-deep, Concrete Rose hit the top of the stretch with a narrow advantage.
Leparoux gave Concrete Rose the green light and she soon began to kick away from Jodie. Continuing to clear off in deep stretch, Concrete Rose crossed 2 3/4 lengths the best in a final time of 1:59.97 for the 1 1/4-mile event over the firm inner turf course.
“I thought (Newspaperofrecord) would be on the lead unless they came for her, but I guess today they tried something new and took her back a little bit,” Leparoux said. “The Japanese horsewanted to go, so I was happy to be second, and my filly relaxed beautiful for me the whole race. I knew at the 1/4-pole, I had a lot left. She made a big run at the end. It was nice.”
After enduring a rough trip at the rear of the field, Just Wonderful closed with a flourish and managed to nail Cambier Parc by a nose at the wire for second. Jodie weakened late to fourth, a length ahead of Dyna Passer, with Cafe Americano another length back in sixth. Coral Beach, Olendon, and an empty Newspaperofrecord – who was very rank while not on the pace for the first time in her career – completed the order of finish.
Concrete Rose’s win was her third straight following similar triumphs in the Florida Oaks (G3) and the Edgewood Stakes (G3) and improved her overall record to 6-5-0-0 with $818,650 earned. The 3-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy’s only career defeat came when she finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) over a yielding Churchill Downs turf course.
“It’s a long year, but her last two have really moved her forward,” Arnold said. “I was impressed today. I was very, very happy with how she ran. (I was concerned that) I rested her too much. Everyone had run and we hadn’t run in two months and a couple of days and I was a little worried. Her training went smooth, her works went smooth, and everything went well. Sometimes your plan works and sometimes it doesn’t work, but this one worked.”
Concrete Rose returned $7.80 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Just Wonderful brought back $16.40 to place and $7.60 to show, while Cambier Parc paid $3.10 to show.