As confusing as the race for leadership among 3-year-old men on the dirt might be, their turf brethren seem equally intent to stage a crazy battle for supremacy.
Fourteen 3-year-old grass runners, representing the United States, Europe and Japan, lined up at Belmont Park July 6 for the $1 million, Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes and, true for this year’s baffling shape, a success by a 20-1 shot who was 13th at the wagering produced an outcome which triggered a $8,901 trifecta payout for $2. “Later today, there is definitely some confusion with this group,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who understands the confusion in both ends of the 3-year-old division. Does he train Country House, who had been announced the winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, but in the Belmont Derby he sent out Juddmonte Farms’ Seismic Wave, the 9-2 favorite who finished fifth behind the victorious $43.60 longshot, Bloom Racing Stable’s Henley’s Joy.
“It was spectacular,” owner Jeffrey Bloom stated.
Spectacular, on certain levels, since the first leg of the New York Racing Association’s inaugural Turf Trinity produced a wide-open gambling race that probably raised more questions about the 3-year-old turf branch than answers.
Or did it?
“Hopefully we will make it an easier situation to pick out the most effective 3-year-old turfer once the Turf Trinity is over,” Bloom said concerning the 3-year-old trained by Mike Maker. “We’re off to a fantastic start.”
The Turf Trinity continues Aug. 4 with the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and ends with the $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 7.
Bloom said the son of Kitten’s Joy is a go for the next leg after finally working out a winning trip following a series of misadventures, such as the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge Stakes when he completed a broad, bumpy fourth.
“I sound like a broken record, but he has had a lot of races at which he had nothing go his way, and I mean from start to finish. The Pennine Ridge was just another great example of a trip. He didn’t lose by much but he never got a chance to run,” Bloom said. “I feel great for the horse. He is such a nice horse and he tries hard. I am glad he got to showcase his talents on the stage.” For BBN Racing’s and Ashbrook Farm Concrete Rose, 2019 is a year to remember.
Already a three-time graded stakes winner when she walked on the Belmont Park turf for the first time July 6, the daughter of Twirling Candy abandoned everything on the racecourse and picked up her first Grade 1 score at the $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes.
“I feel like a champagne bottle that has been shaken up and not opened,” Bo Bromagen of Ashbrook told a representative of Fasig-Tipton. “That is beyond my expectations, but you fantasy for it. ””
The invader producing her first start stateside for owner Tadakazu Obama, jodie, took the lead in the 1 1/4 – mile test from the break. Concrete Rose and regular rider Julien Leparoux stalked in second just off the rail followed by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf victress Newspaperofrecord who had been rank on the inside and then tipped out to both path as Irad Ortiz Jr. worked to get a firm hold. The move forced Cafe Americano out eight-wide causing Coral Beach and Only Wonderful to check.
Settling down for a drive at the peak of the stretch, Concrete Rose took control a furlong from the wire, kicked home, and crossed the finish 2??3/4 lengths before 1:59.97.
“I believed [coach ] Chad [Brown]’s horse [Newspaperofrecord] would be on the direct unless they came for her, but I guess today they attempted something new and took her back just a little bit,” Leparoux explained. “The Japanese horse [Jodie] desired to proceed, so I was happy to be second and my filly relaxed amazing for me the whole race. I knew at the quarter-pole, I had a lot left. She left a run. It was fine.” — Meredith Daugherty