Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing's Concrete Rose remains unbeaten in her sophomore campaign, running away with the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks by 2 3/4 lengths on the wire. The daughter of Twirling Candy rated just off the frontrunner and got first run on her in the stretch, completing the 1 1/4-mile distance over Belmont Park's firm turf in 1:59.97 under jockey Julien Leparoux. Trained by Rusty Arnold, Concrete Rose was sent off as the 5-2 second choice.
“Sometimes your plan works and sometimes it doesn't work, but this one worked,” Arnold said after the race. “(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.”
Just Wonderful and Cambier Parc rounded out the trifecta, with Japan-based Jodie hanging on to fourth after setting the pace.
Quick into stride, Concrete Rose was content to track the speed of Jodie through early fractions of :24.29 and :49.16, avoiding the trouble caused by favored Newspaperofrecord behind her. Jose Ortiz attempted to rate the favorite European-style, holding her behind horses, but she fought him all the way and bulled her way to the outside of the course at the expense of several rivals mid-way down the backstretch.
Nearing the half-mile pole Jodie maintained her one-length lead over Concrete Rose, with a three-wide Newspaperofrecord appearing poised to strike on the outside. Cambier Parc was also forwardly placed, while eventual runner-up Just Wonderful was second last approaching the turn.
When the running started at the top of the lane, Concrete Rose had first run on Jodie and easily kicked away from the field. Both Just Wonderful and Cambier Parc made up ground in the lane but their race was for second as Concrete Rose cruised to the wire about three lengths the best. Just Wonderful nosed out Cambier Parc for second, and Jodie hung on to finish fourth.
“She's pretty easy to rate,” Leparoux said of Concrete Rose. “She seemed nervous in the paddock, but when she's on the track, she's just very easy to ride. I knew was going to relax and I wasn't really that concerned [about the distance].”
Newspaperofrecord faded to finish last of the nine-filly field.
“She [Newspaperofrecord] didn't want to rate at all, she was all over the place,” said trainer Chad Brown. “It was no fault of Irad (Ortiz)'s, the filly just wouldn't cooperate. So, we tried it, it didn't work, and that's that.”
Bred in Kentucky by Ron Patterson, Concrete Rose was a $20,000 yearling at the Keeneland September sale and was pinhooked through the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old in training sale for $61,000. She won the G2 Jessamine Stakes as a juvenile, but was relegated to eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. This season Concrete Rose has won the G3 Florida Oaks and G3 Edgewood, with the Belmont Oaks win improving her record to five wins from six starts for earnings of over $850,000.
The Belmont Oaks is the first leg of the inaugural Triple Tiara for 3-year-old turf fillies. The second contest in the three-race series is the $1 million Saratoga Oaks on Aug. 2, for which Arnold said Concrete Rose would be pointed.
“Absolutely,” he confirmed. “Unless there's an issue. That's why we rested her and hopefully it worked.”
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