Oaks Domination

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Rusty Arnold swayed ever so slightly, chomped on a piece of gum or maybe the side of his mouth, and repeated the fractions of the Saratoga Oaks.

“25 and 2…”

Deep breath.

“51 and 2…”

Deep breath.

When the 6-furlong split of 1:15 and 4 flashed on the clubhouse big screen, Arnold didn’t need to repeat it, didn’t need to wonder.

“She can sprint from here,” Arnold said.

Concrete Rose did exactly that, turning for home and scampering clear to win the $695,000 turf stakes by 4 3/4 lengths over Irish raider Happen and Florida shipper Kelsey’s Cross. Owned by Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing, the daughter of Twirling Candy improved her career mark to six wins from seven starts and remained undefeated in four starts this year. Sent off 1-5, Concrete Rose and jockey Julien Leparoux never had an anxious moment.

Arnold? It’s always anxious.

“I’m not sure I’ve been 1-5 in any race much less one like this. I thought she would be a short price but I didn’t think it would be that short,” Arnold said. “You know being the hunter is a little more relaxing than the hunted.”

There have been better snipe hunts than this.

Concrete Rose broke sharply from the outside post as Leparoux pulled his right rein away from her neck to keep her from leaning into Kelsey’s Cross to the inside. Natural speed and capitulating rivals made it easy as Concrete Rose strolled to the lead, Leparoux glancing slightly left and seeing a hard-held Olendon to his inside. From there, he didn’t see anything but green grass and bay ears.

To read the rest of the Saratoga Oaks recap, download Saturday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.