Rusty Arnold’s Concrete Rose Will Face Stern Test in Keeneland’s Jessamine Stakes Today

(Rusty Arnold will saddle Concrete Rose for today’s G2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

From the Keeneland Media Team:

Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing’s Concrete Rose, an impressive maiden winner in August at Saratoga going 5½ furlongs, will try to punch her ticket to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with a victory in Wednesday’s 28th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

“She is very talented and done exceptional here. I hope she gets us to Nov. 2 (for the Breeders’ Cup),” trainer Rusty Arnold said Tuesday morning. “Her pedigree (Twirling Candy out of a Powerscourt [GB] mare) says she should get the distance. She has breezed and galloped like she should.”

Arnold had entered Concrete Rose against the boys for last Sunday’s Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at the same distance.

“I was worried we would not get in (the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine) because of the conditioned eligibility of the race,” Arnold said. “There were only a few spots available, and there were five fillies that didn’t get in. I didn’t want to be unlucky.

“They entered for the Bourbon Thursday and the Jessamine Friday and once we got in, we had no intention of running in the Bourbon.”

Jose Lezcano, who was aboard for the maiden victory, has the mount Wednesday.

On Friday, Arnold will send out G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Morticia in the 22nd running of the $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County (G3) for fillies and mares going 5½ furlongs on the turf.

“She is doing great and ready to go defend her title,” Arnold said of Morticia, who could join Ayrial Delight (1998-1999) as the only horse to win the race in consecutive years.

Morticia has compiled a 14-7-3-3 record on the grass with her only off-the-board finish coming in the Caress at Saratoga this summer over a soft course.

“She doesn’t really like it soft and there is rain in the forecast (for the next two days),” Arnold said. “But you can’t do anything about the weather.”


Group 2 winners Mission Impassible (IRE) and Nyaleti (IRE), Sunday arrivals for Saturday’s $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End (G1) for 3-year-old fillies, cleared quarantine and Tuesday morning were on the Keeneland training track for light exercise.

Nyaleti, owned by 3 Battenhams and a Reay, has made her second trip to North America this year. She finished sixth in the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington on Aug. 11.

“She was stuck inside coming into the final bend and couldn’t get out,” said exercise rider Hayley Kelly, who accompanied the filly to Chicago. “She probably would have finished in the top three if she had gotten out.”

As it was, Nyaleti was only beaten 2¾ lengths by Sistercharlie (IRE). That showing contributed to the connections accepting the invitation to the QE II.

“She is a good traveler and is very happy here,” said Kelly, who is making her first visit to Keeneland. “If she runs well Saturday, she will probably stay for the Breeders’ Cup (Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs).”

Mark Johnston trains Nyaleti, but he will not be here for the race. Kelly said the trainer’s wife, Deirdre, would be here Thursday night.

Mission Impassible, owned by Mohammed Hamad Khalifa Al-Attiyah, made her first trip outside of Europe to come here. Exercise rider Jerome Viaud said the daughter of Galileo (IRE) has settled in well.

Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, Mission Impassible brings Viaud back to Keeneland for the first time in 12 years.

“I was here in 2006 for the same race with Singhalese (GB),” Viaud said.

Rouget is not scheduled to be here for the race.

The other probable starters for the QE II are Beyond Blame (trainer Brad Cox), Capla Temptress (IRE) (Bill Mott), Daddy Is a Legend (George Weaver), Fatale Bere (FR) (Leonard Powell), Princess Warrior (Kenny McPeek), Rushing Fall (Chad Brown) and Secret Message (Graham Motion).

Entries will be taken Wednesday.


P.K. Siu’s Indian Blessing (GB), a fast-closing third in Saturday’s $400,000 First Lady (G1), will remain at Keeneland for a bit longer instead of returning home to Europe tomorrow.

“We are going to stay awhile,” exercise rider Charles Guet said after taking Indian Blessing to the training track for her morning exercise. “She is going to go to Belmont sometime. They are working out the details today.”

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”


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