Concrete Rose, a three-time graded stakes winner, will be trying to win the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational on Friday at Saratoga. The race is part of the NYRA’s first-year Turf Tiara series in which Concrete Rose has already won the first leg. The Saratoga Oaks is for 3-year-old fillies, and it will have a field of six horses competing.
Concrete Rose won the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, the first race in the Turf Triple. She won by 2 3/4 – lengths ahead of Just Wonderful in the 1 1/4 mile race on July 6. It was her third win in a row, and she has been in the winner’s circle for five of her six career starts.
Her debut was last August at Saratoga, in which she won a 5 1/2 – furlong turf sprint. In her next race, she won by three lengths in the Grade 2 Jessamine at Keeneland in October. At the end of her 2-year-old season, she finished eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill. It was the only time she finished outside of the top three.
Following those races, Concrete Rose rested for four months before winning both the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa in March and the Grade 3 Edgewood at Churchill in May. Both of those races were 1 1/16 miles. Her last race was the Belmont Oaks, which she won.
Saratoga Oaks is going to be 1 3/16 miles on the Mellon Turf Course, slightly shorter than the Belmont Oaks which was 1 1/4 miles. The three-part series ends with the 1 3/8 – mile Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont Park on September 7. It will be the first time Concrete Rose runs that distance.
“Right now, she is [the best 3-year-old turf filly in the country], but we’re halfway through the year and hope we continue on,” trainer Rusty Arnold said. “She won at five-and-a-half furlongs, a mile-and-a-quarter and in the middle, so it’s not an issue. I think the mile and three-sixteenths is well within her ability.”
The only time Concrete Rose has been defeated was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs where Newspaperofrecord, trained by Chad Brown, finished first.
Julien Leparoux will be the jockey aboard Concrete Rose as they break from post 5. He has been the rider for all of Concrete Rose’s starts.
Rest of the Field
Olendon, trained by Chad Brown, will be running in the race as well. She debuted in North America in the Belmont Oaks where she finished eighth. Before North America, she had won two races back in France. She will break from post 1 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Albert Frassetto’s Her Royal Highness will also be looking to win the Saratoga Oaks. Her first four starts were on the main track before moving to grass and finishing seventh in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks. She finished second in the Open Mind on June 30 at Monmouth Park, a 1 1/16 – mile race. At that race, she earned a career-high 82 Beyer Speed Figure.
This will be the first time she has run this distance. Trainer Graham Motion spoke about it.
“She’s doing great and I plan to breeze her before shipping her up to Saratoga on Tuesday,” he said. “I always thought [about stretching her out]. We’ll find out, but it’s always been on mind. She can be a bit of a tough filly to be around, but I think she’ll handle it.”
Joel Rosario will be the jockey on board.
The rest of the field will include Coral Beach and Happen, both sent over from Europe by trainer Aidan O’ Brien. Coral Beach finished seventh in the Belmont Oaks, and Happen won the seven-furlong Group 3 Coolmore Gleneagles Irish EBF Athasi on May 6.
The last horse in the field is Kesley’s Cross with trainer and owner Patrick Biancone. She has finished in the top three in each of her four starts, and she finished second in her debut at Gulfstream on April 21.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting race at Saratoga on Friday. The Saratoga Oaks will be Race 9 on the card, and post time is at 5:51 p.m.