Concrete Rose a deserving favorite in Saratoga Oaks

The inaugural $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational will be run this Friday at Saratoga racecourse. The second leg in NYRA’s newly-minted Turf Tiara, the 1 3/16th-mile heat drew a field of six. Post time for the Saratoga Oaks, Race 9 of 10 on the day, is 5:51 p.m. ET.

#5 CONCRETE ROSE (2-5, morning-line favorite) has won three in a row and five of her first six starts. That includes her convincing triumph in the Grade I Belmont Oaks at 1 1/4-miles last time out. The distance cutback in the Saratoga Oaks shouldn’t hamper CONCRETE ROSE in the slightest. This field came up very soft and her tune-up work for this start was sharp. Julien Leparoux and CONCRETE ROSE should win easily as heavy favorites on Friday afternoon.

#2 HAPPEN (4-1) is one of two being sent out by Aiden O’Brien in the Saratoga Oaks, the other being longshot #3 CORAL BEACH (12-1). HAPPEN was last seen finishing off the board in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, a far tougher spot than this. Prior to that effort, HAPPEN took a Group 3 race at the Curragh going seven panels. The daughter of War Front has never raced beyond a mile but is bred to get the distance. Wayne Lordan flies in for the call.

#6 HER ROYAL HIGHNESS (15-1) is lacking speed figure-wise but is worth throwing in underneath at a big price. She ran her best race to date last time out in the Boiling Springs at Monmouth, finishing a fast-closing second. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS always finishes with interest, suggesting that she’ll appreciate the extra furlong she gets in the Saratoga Oaks. The Graham Motion trainee gets a jockey upgrade to Joel Rosario.

The play: $5 exacta 5/2,6 ($10)

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