Rusty Arnold anticipated that Concrete Rose would get to the lead in Friday’s $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational, and that the race would be run at a slow pace.
But a half-mile in :51.41?
“I didn’t think it would be in 51,” Arnold said. “It’s nice that it happens to you every now and then.”
The 1-5 favorite Concrete Rose set an easygoing pace in the field of five, then kicked late under jockey Julien Leparoux to cruise to victory.
Concrete Rose crossed in 1:55.34 and paid $2.60 to win the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks, the second leg of NYRA’s new three-race Turf Tiara series.
The Twirling Candy filly won the first leg of the new series July 6 in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational.
Now Concrete Rose can try to accomplish the Turf Tiara back at Belmont on Sept. 7 in the Jockey Club Oaks.
Arnold has Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) on Oct. 12 in mind for later this season but said Concrete Rose will “probably run” first in the Jockey Club Oaks.
“It’s going to be hard not to run her back,” Arnold said.
Wherever Concrete Rose runs next, she probably won’t get an easier trip than what she enjoyed Friday at Saratoga.
Concrete Rose moved from the outside No. 5 post into the lead and set crawling fractions of :25.58, :51.41 and 1:15.93.
“They gave me the race in the first part of it when we went really slow,” Leparoux said. “Then after that, I controlled the race the whole way.
“She’s just got an awesome kick at the end. It would’ve been very tough to beat me today, for sure.”
Concrete Rose is campaigned by Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing LLC.
Aidan O’Brien-trained Happen, running her first race on U.S. soil, finished 4 ¾ lengths behind Concrete Rose for second.