Concrete Rose left no doubters at Keeneland Wednesday, taking the Grade 2 Jessamine with a powerful closing kick mid-stretch. Jockey Jose Lezcano piloted the filly in her second career start, sitting on or just behind the early pace and drawing her to the center of the turf course at the top of the stretch and unleashing a steady acceleration through the final two furlongs to win by daylight.
The Jessamine is the final race in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, granting the winner an automatic entry into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf next month.
George “Rusty” Arnold trains Concrete Rose for owners Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing LLC. The 2-year-old was bred in Kentucky by Ron Patterson and is the daughter of Twirling Candy and Powerscourt (GB) mare Solerina. Concrete Rose is a sale veteran — she was offered at last year's Keeneland September sale by Lane's End, and was purchased for $20,000 by J.W. Bloodstock. The filly was pinhooked at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale earlier this year and brought $61,000 from agent David Ingordo. She was consigned there by White Pine Thoroughbreds.
Pakhet was second, followed by Belle Laura and favorite Fierce Scarlett. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.09.
Concrete Rose paid $7.20 to win.
Quotes, courtesy of Keeneland's media department:
Rusty Arnold (winning trainer of Concrete Rose)
On the filly stretching out to the 1/16 miles of today's race, her first start since winning her career debut at 5½ furlongs in August at Saratoga
“We thought the sprint was too short. We thought two turns was what she wanted. When she won that day, we pointed to this race. We had almost two months to be ready.
“We are going to the Breeders' Cup if everything's right; that was the plan. My biggest concern here was getting in the race. We were worried all week about getting in, and when we did we were pretty relaxed.”
Jose Lezcano (winning rider)
“She broke very good. The leader (City Diva) tried to slow the pace down around the first turn. She (Concrete Rose) did it for me. She set up very good and when I asked her at the quarter pole, she went on to win the race.”
John Velazquez (rider of runner-up Pakhet)
“We had a good trip, and we saved a lot of ground going into the first turn. Going into the second turn, I was starting to follow Irad (Ortiz on favored Fierce Scarlett) in there, and she didn't seem to run the turn very well. Then down the lane I kind of pulled her to the outside and she came running, so it was a good effort.”
Corey Lanerie (rider of third-place finisher Belle Laura)
“I came around everybody. I was coming but not super fast. But I was closing in. I thought I had a little chance to win and I just kept riding for a piece (of the purse).”
Norm Casse (trainer of Belle Laura)
“She ran really well. Our barn in general has been really unlucky with our post positions. When you have the outside post, it is almost impossible to win from out there. We decided to take back and make one big run. She was picking up horses down the lane and she looked really good. She has an exciting future. Maybe if she breezes well we will entertain the idea of the Breeders' Cup.”
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