by NYRA Press Office
Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing's Concrete Rose emerged from her dominant victory in Friday's Saratoga Oaks Invitational in fine fettle and will train at Saratoga Race Course for a possible start in the Jockey Club Oaks on September 7, trainer Rusty Arnold said Saturday.
Also a winner of the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational in July, Concrete Rose could sweep the inaugural Turf Tiara series for 3-year-old fillies if she runs in the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks, which will be contested over 1 ⅜ miles at Belmont Park. Also under consideration is the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 12 at Keeneland.
"We'll probably run at Belmont," said Arnold. "If she's good, she'll probably run [in the Jockey Club Oaks], now that we have thought things over, as long as we don't have any kind of issues."
Concrete Rose won the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Oaks by 2 ¾ lengths before adding a 4 ¾-length front-running score in the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks. She has won 6-of-7 starts, including triumphs in the Grade 2 Jessamine and Grade 3 Florida Oaks.
"With the way she has run, I don't think [1 3/8 miles] will be a problem," said Arnold. "Let's face it, I don't think you know until you do it, and I don't think anybody knows, but it looks like after the way she ran we wouldn't have an issue trying it, especially if she can get another easy lead. The fact the [Queen Elizabeth is a Grade 1] would factor more into our decision if she wasn't already a Grade 1 winner, but we're going to take her where she fits best, and the grading probably won't matter."
Arnold added that G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.'s Morticia is on target to make her next start in the $100,000 Smart N Fancy, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares on August 17. Morticia, a seven-time stakes winner, dead-heated for third in her most recent outing, the Caress on July 21 at Saratoga. Both Concrete Rose and Morticia are daughters of Twirling Candy.
"They've been good to me," said Arnold. "They're nothing alike, but they have both been good to us."
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G1 Woodward could be next for Alydar winner Tom's d'Etat
G M B Racing's Tom's d'Etat was in good shape on Saturday morning following his victory in the Alydar and trainer Al Stall, Jr. said the 6-year-old Smart Strike bay could return to action in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on August 31 at Saratoga Race Course.
"He certainly did it the right way [Friday], so we'll take a good long look at him this week and see how he comes out of the race," Stall said. "The next logical spot would be the Woodward, but we'll see. It takes us about a week or so to evaluate how he comes out of a race. We'll take our time and see what's what."
Lightly raced, Tom's d'Etat notched a seventh career win in 13 starts, three of which were victories over the main track at the Spa. He broke his maiden at third asking in August 2016 at Saratoga and romped home to victory by nine lengths the following year at the Spa where he registered a 106 Beyer Speed Figure.
"Everything has been so minor," Stall said of Tom's d'Etat's past issues. "He's got clean legs. There's no heat or no inflammation. He just had bone bruising and stuff like that. He's got a better chance of coming back a sounder horse than one that has soft tissue or something like that."
The Alydar was a second stakes win for Tom's d'Etat, who won the Tenacious at Fair Grounds last December. He entered the Alydar off of two graded stakes placings at Churchill Downs when running second to McKinzie in the Grade 2 Alysheba and a third in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster.
Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock, Tom's d'Etat is out of the Giant's Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane is a full-sister to multiple champion producing sire Candy Ride. He was purchased for $330,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2014.
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Catholic Boy gallops over Saratoga main track; G1 Woodward still on agenda
Catholic Boy galloped 1 ½ miles over the Saratoga main track on Saturday, one day after arriving at the Spa from Belmont Park. The 4-year-old More Than Ready ridgling remains possible for the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward presented NYRA Bets on August 31, trainer Jonathan Thomas reported.
"We're most likely going to wait and breeze him next weekend," said Thomas, who trains Catholic Boy for Robert V. LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm, and Twin Creeks Racing Stables. "The Woodward remains a major target. We're going to let it go week by week, but we're happy to have him up here."
Winner of last year's Grade 1 Runhappy Travers, Catholic Boy has made two starts this year, capturing the Grade 2 Dixie on the turf at Pimlico in May and finishing second by 4 ½ lengths to Preservationist in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6 at Belmont Park.
"He came out of the [Suburban] with a couple of cuts," said Thomas. "It took them a little longer to heal than I would have thought initially, so we've been very easy with him, just trying to let him regroup. He's completely sound, but he had some superficial stuff that we wanted to heal up. We're resuming serious training now. We lost a little bit of time, but I don't think it's going to be a detrimental thing."
Favored at 13-10 in the 1 ¼-mile Suburban, Catholic Boy pulled to the lead following the opening quarter-mile and dictated a moderate pace until being headed by Preservationist at the quarter pole.
"I was disappointed but not discouraged with his effort," said Thomas. "He's a horse who has a little hype behind him and it was anticipated that he was going to win, but he ran into a very good horse in Preservationist. [Trainer] Jimmy [Jerkens] has done an excellent job with him. After the numbers came back, they ran almost identical numbers on the [Ragozin] Sheets. We gave [Preservationist] six pounds. I thought with a little bit of a better trip maybe we could have been a little closer, but at the end of the day he got a lot out of it, and, hopefully, he'll take a step forward."
Although Catholic Boy won at 1 ¼ miles in the 2018 Runhappy Travers and on turf in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational, Thomas thinks the ridgling may appreciate cutting back to 1 ⅛ miles in the Woodward.
"While he got a mile and a quarter as a 3-year-old, he seems to be showing a lot more speed now," said Thomas. "He wants to breeze faster and is more engaged in his races, so the cutback may be what's needed. He seems to thrive on the atmosphere [in Saratoga] and he won at 2 in the [Grade 3] With Anticipation. He clearly likes being up here. We just need to have a really good month."
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Englehart enjoying strong start to Spa summer meet
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart, with a record of 5-7-4 from 35 starts at Saratoga, is tied for fifth for wins in the trainer standings, largely on the back of a strong group of juveniles led by Stillwater victor My Italian Rabbi.
Owned by Gold Square, the dark bay daughter of Competitive Edge, bred in New York by Hidden Lake Farm, won on debut on May 30 at Belmont and followed up with a nose score over Fierce Lady in the six-furlong Stillwater on July 18.
My Italian Rabbi breezed four furlongs on the main track in 49.65 seconds on Friday. Englehart said the filly will target the $200,000 Seeking the Ante, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies slated for August 23 as part of New York Breeders' Showcase Day.
"She's doing good. She came out of the work well and we're on course for the Seeking the Ante," said Englehart.
Englehart's other 2-year-old winners at the meet include fillies Sweet Kisses and Risky Mischief as well as colt Cleon Jones.
The conditioner said he looks forward to stretching My Italian Rabbi out in distance.
"Given the opportunity, that's what you hope for," said Englehart. "You never know until they try it, but she's got enough leg and hopefully enough stamina."
Sweet Kisses, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Carpe Diem, finished second on debut to eventual graded-stakes placed Kiss the Girl. Sweet Kisses proved much the best in her Saratoga debut on July 19, edging clear for a 2 1/4-length win that garnered a 75 Beyer Speed Figure.
Risky Mischief, by Into Mischief and bred in New York by Sanford Bacon, romped a 7 1/2-length score in a restricted maiden event on July 31, registering a 67 Beyer.
Englehart said he is targeting both fillies to the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway, a seven-furlong sprint slated for September 1.
"Both fillies seem like they've come out of their race well and we'll be pointing both to the Spinaway," said Englehart. "I want to get them both a little more distance to see how they handle it."
Cleon Jones, a son of Tale of the Cat bred in New York by Empire Equines, swung and missed on debut when fifth in a restricted maiden event at Belmont Park. Named for the former New York Mets left fielder, who caught the final out of the "Miracle Mets" World Series Championship over the Baltimore Orioles in 1969, Cleon Jones hit it out of the park at second asking with a 3 1/4-length score on July 28 at the Spa.
"He came out of that race well and we're going to point him towards the Funny Cide," said Englehart of the $200,000 6 1/2-furlong sprint for New York-breds slated for August 23. "He's a horse that's going to need some more distance. We'll look to stretch him out as he gets further along in his career."
All four of his Saratoga juvenile winners are Breeders' Cup nominated.
"That's always the goal with young horses. You want to try and get there, but we're still a long ways away from that," said Englehart. "You just have to take the necessary steps and go from there."
Englehart has a number of babies in the entries at Saratoga this week, including Daphne Moon in Sunday's opener and Critical Value and Thea's Theme in Wednesday's fifth race.
Daphne Moon, A Kentucky-bred daughter of Cairo Prince, brought $525,000 at the April OBS. She makes her debut in a seven-furlong sprint with Jose Ortiz in the irons.
"She's been working well all along and another one we're excited to see how she does. Cairo Prince is a stallion I think his horses develop as they get older. He's not really a first-out sire, but she's precocious enough to be competitive in the race," said Englehart.
New York-bred fillies Thea's Theme and Critical Value will sprint 6 1/2-furlongs in a New York-bred maiden on Wednesday.
Thea's Theme, by Bayern, was bred SF Bloodstock and brought $145,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale. Critical Value, by Bodemeister, was bred by Marshall K. Gramm and Clay Sanders and is owned by Ten Strike Racing.
"Both fillies have worked really well. It wasn't my goal to run them against each other, but the way the races have come up, we had to point for the same race," said Englehart. "Both horses have trained well and we're hoping they run well."
Englehart said he is pleased with how his 2-year-olds have performed this year.
"We started with 40 to 50 2-year-olds this year. It's a process," said Englehart. "Some of them go to the farm because they're not ready and the ones that are running now have been able to handle the training. We just look for the signs that they're doing well and go from there.
"The team has really done a nice job getting the horses ready and we're off to a good start," he added. "Hopefully, we can keep it up."
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Cannizzo hopes for improved effort from Twisted Tom; Slimey flourishing at Spa
Conditioner David Cannizzo claimed multiple stakes winner Twisted Tom in June and has run him once since joining his outfit, finishing fourth to stakes winner Mr. Buff in the Saginaw on June 30 at Belmont Park.
Twisted Tom will look to turn the tables and improve with a second shot at his foe in the $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds on Wednesday.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Creative Cause, Twisted Tom has yet to find the winner's circle from five starts this year, but his back form as a 3-year-old includes New York stakes wins in the New York Derby, Albany and the Empire Classic. Last year, he finished second by a nose in the Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct.
"He's been doing very well since the Saginaw," said Cannizzo. "He's really adjusted since we brought him in and he should get a better setup this time. His last race they sort of walked and Mr. Buff was the lone speed putting him at a disadvantage."
Slimey, a 3-year-old filly Cannizzo claimed for Flying P Stable in May, finished fourth in an optional-claiming race in her first start for her new connections at Belmont Park.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Quality Road has since won a pair of races over off-tracks and is undefeated at the Spa.
Last out, she won an allowance by 1 ¾ lengths July 26 that garnered a 78 Beyer Speed Figure.
Cannizzo said he is hoping to run her at least one more time at Saratoga before the meet ends.
"She's come out of both of her wins very good," said Cannizzo. "We'll be looking for another spot for her in the next couple of weeks. She's really took to the program since we brought her over here. We knew she was talented, and she hasn't taken a wrong step since we brought her into the barn. She loves it up here and has blossomed so hopefully we can get her in at least one more race."
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The Rookie Report: Englehart debuts Cairo Prince filly; Lynch hoping for big things from Amerman homebred
Two maiden special weight events for 2-year-old fillies are on deck for Sunday's program at Saratoga Race Course.
In the first race, a seven-furlong maiden over the main track, trainer Jeremiah Englehart will debut Daphne Moon - a $525,000 purchase from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training in April.
The Gold Square and Double O Racing Stable dark bay filly is by second crop stallion Cairo Prince out of the unraced Street Sense broodmare Crozat who also produced stakes winner Perfect Wife.
"She was a filly that Travis Durr and I picked out at the sale," Englehart said. "She's a pretty and leggy filly and she's been working well. We're kind of hoping she'll run to the way she's been working. She just looked like a real classy filly and pretty much had that overall nice look to her. [Owner] Al [Gold] has made it easy. I get to pick out horses for him and they run well. He gives Travis and I control at the sale and lets us pick out the ones we like and that makes the job pretty easy. So far we've been lucky with the horses we've picked out for him."
Also making her career debut in Sunday's opener is Mirabell Mei for trainer John Terranova and owner Ken Geren. The chestnut Palace Malice filly was purchased for $100,000 from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the Pulpit broodmare Two Harbors - a half-sister to three-time Grade 1-winning multimillionaire Golden Missile.
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen will saddle a well-bred Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned filly in Weekend Fun, who was a $200,000 purchase from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The dark bay daughter of More Than Ready is a descendant of prolific broodmare Lassie Dear, who produced Charming Lassie, the dam of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner and champion producing sire Lemon Drop Kid, as well as Weekend Surprise who was the dam of 1992 Belmont Stakes winner, Horse of the Year and multiple champion producing sire A. P. Indy and 1991 Preakness winner Summer Squall.
Three races later, juvenile fillies will attempt their first career victory over the grass.
Amerman Racing homebred Osaka Girl, a dark bay First Samurai filly, will make her career debut for trainer Brian Lynch. She is out of the Montjeu broodmare Turns My Head who is a half to turf graded stakes winner Global View.
"She's trained like a filly that's got some God given talent," Lynch said. "It's always a big ask when you're asking a 2-year-olds to go a mile and a sixteenth first time out, but she has showed us that she's up for that. We feel like we've got enough work into her and she's an exciting 2-year-old prospect that we're looking forward to running."
Osaka Girl's morning works have impressed Lynch so far. Her last serious move was a half-mile in 50.56 seconds over the Oklahoma training track's turf course.
"All the works have been in hand," Lynch said. "When you ask her to do a little extra she always finds another gear. She's a good, sensible and lovely filly to be around and so we're looking for good things."
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle a pair of well-bred debuters in Situation Room and Sketches of Spain. Owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, Situation Room is a bay daughter of freshman sire Summer Front out of graded-stakes winning Silver Hawk broodmare Silver Comic, who also produced turf graded stakes winner Silver Reunion. She was purchased for $275,000 from last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Also representing the Chad Brown barn is Peter Brant's Sketches of Spain. Bred in Ireland by Ballylinch Stud, the Lope de Vega bay filly is out of the graded stakes-placed Beat Hollow broodmare Janicellaine. She is from the same family as Italian Group 1 winner Eva's Request.