Concrete Rose relaxes in her stall the morning after her Saratoga Oaks Invitational win at Saratoga

Concrete Rose relaxes in her stall the morning after her Saratoga Oaks Invitational win at Saratoga

Anne M. Eberhardt

Concrete Rose Resumes Breezing Toward 2020 Return

Twirling Candy filly is pointed toward the Jenny Wiley (G1T) at Keeneland Apr. 11.

At a midwinter stage in February when many Kentuckians are dreaming of warmer climates, trainer Rusty Arnold is in Florida, thinking about Kentucky.

Bluegrass native Arnold has the spring meet at Keeneland on his mind, training four high-class turf horses that are just now gearing up for 2020 returns. Leading the charge for his squad is millionaire Concrete Rose, a four-time stakes winner in 2019 who resumed breezing Feb. 17 at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. The filly worked three furlongs on grass Sunday in :36 4/5 and is being pointed toward a start in the April 11 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1T) at the Lexington oval.

The 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy , owned by Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing, is already proven at the grade 1 level, having won the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T) last summer at 3. Other triumphs last year included the Edgewood Stakes Presented by Forcht Bank (G3T), the Florida Oaks (G3T), and the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes.

One of the best in her division in 2019, she missed the second half of the year due to a fracture in her right foreleg, an injury that Arnold said has since healed and been given a positive prognosis by Dr. True Baker at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

"Knock on wood, everything has gone on schedule," Arnold said. "She had her first work yesterday and it went well. It was a touch quicker than we thought, but she went nice, galloped out nice and came back really good today."

Should she require more time leading to her return, Arnold said the Longines Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (G2T) May 2 is an alternative target.

She figures to have some company in action at Keeneland with stablemates Morticia and Leinster also back breezing toward their first outings of the year. The two graded stakes-winning turf sprinters are being aimed toward the Giant's Causeway Stakes April 11 and Shakertown Stakes (G3T) April 4, respectively. Both stakes are run at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. The Giant's Causeway is restricted to fillies and mares.

Leinster breezed three furlongs in :39 4/5 Feb. 16, while Morticia went the same distance in :38 3/5 on Monday. It was the first workout of the year for Leinster, the second for Morticia. Both are unraced since the Fall.

Leinster, owned by the partnership of Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables, and Jean Wilkinson, was last in action in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) at Santa Anita Park, where he ran seventh of 12. 

Morticia last competed Oct. 11 in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (G3T) at Keeneland, finishing second. Though initial plans had called for her to be retired following that race, owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Arnold reversed course, excited to see what she could do this year at age 6.

"I think there is so much opportunity right now for these horses. I think it's great, really, for racing," Arnold said. 

Five-year-old Totally Boss, 10th in the Turf Sprint for Arnold, also has the spring as a timetable for his 2020 unveiling but will not join his trainer in Florida. Arnold said that owners Jim and Susan Hill prefer to freshen the Street Boss  gelding and have him receive his early season training at Margaux Farm in Kentucky. He is slated to rejoin Arnold when the trainer sends a string to Keeneland around the middle of next month.

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