Since age 2, Concrete Rose has shown the talent to compete at a high level, but Ashbrook Farm's Racing Manager Bo Bromagen said the three-time graded stakes winner has displayed an even greater shift in attitude heading into Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Concrete Rose has won all but one of her five career starts – the only defeat when eighth behind Newspaperofrecord in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 2 at Churchill Downs.
After winning her 2019 debut in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, she turned the tables on Newspaperofrecord with a win in the Grade 3 Edgewood on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
“Between two to three, her attitude is much more self-confident,” Bromagen said. “She knows what she's doing now and she loves to do it. As a 2-year-old, she was still taking it all in, now she knows what she has to do and her work ethic has gotten better.”
The dark bay daughter of Twirling Candy broke her maiden first out at 12-1 over the Mellon turf course at Saratoga last summer, before winning her graded stakes debut at Keeneland in the Grade 2 Jessamine in October.
Concrete Rose was purchased for just $61,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, which was one reason why Bromagen said she was able to escape at such high odds.
“I think that the handicappers tend to look at the purchase price in maiden races at Saratoga and we may have been overlooked off pedigree and purchase price. We knew that she would run well. Maybe not as well as she did, but we thought highly of her going in,” Bromagen said.
Concrete Rose will face her toughest test yet in the Belmont Oaks, where she breaks from post 4 under Julien Leparoux, who piloted the filly to victory in both of her starts this year.
Bromagen expressed satisfaction with her energy level heading into Saturday's race.
“She's done fantastic,” Bromagen said. “She has great energy; her coat is beautiful and Rusty has done a great job with her. I think we have a great shot. With all the international connections, you don't know about relatable competition. Aidan O'Brien always has nice horses and the filly from France [Olendon] looks good as well. Obviously, Chad [Brown] has some really nice ones. It's just a salty race and whoever wins has to be at the top of the division, hopefully that's us.”
Bromagen looks forward to squaring off against Newspaperofrecord for the third time and hopes to develop a rivalry with the familiar foe.
“I've heard people say that Newspaperofrecord isn't the same horse that she was last year, but I don't think that's true,” Bromagen said. “If she beats us, I want to come back at her. This is what's so fun about it. You get to go out there and compete and then try to beat them next time. I would love to see it turn into some sort of a rivalry. I love the idea behind [the Turf Triple series]. It would be pretty cool if we could win the first race in the first ever Turf Tiara series.”
Concrete Rose is owned by Ashbrook Farm in partnership with BBN Racing. Bred in Kentucky by Ron Patterson, she is out of the Powerscourt broodmare Solerina.
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