SARATOGA SPRINGS -- She didn't have many to beat.
And once the race started, she didn't feel much pressure to run fast.
So she didn't, early, and it was no contest for Concrete Rose, who strolled to an easy 4 3/4-length victory in the inaugural $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational at Saratoga Race Course on Friday.
She has won the first two legs of the New York Racing Association's new Turf Tiara series, three races with big purses that will wrap up at Belmont Park with the $1 million Jockey Club Oaks on Sept. 7, although trainer Rusty Arnold said they'll also look at the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland on Oct. 12.
Either way, Concrete Rose reinforced her standing as the best 3-year-old turf filly in the country in the Saratoga Oaks.
"She's so easy, and we're just along for the ride," Arnold said.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, who has been aboard for all of Concrete Rose's undefeated 2019 season, she went straight to the front without any resistance from the field, which scratched down to four, including two fillies who shipped in from the United Kingdom.
Concrete Rose covered the first half-mile in 51.41 seconds, and three-quarters in 1:15.93 while leading by a length. That left her with plenty of energy to blow away the competition down the stretch.
Arnold said he was shocked when one of the Euro horses didn't sprint to the lead to try to set it up for her stablemate.
"I was pretty happy when they hung up a half-mile in 51 and three-quarters in 16 [1:15.93], but she's a fast horse, and they turned it into a sprint home," he said. "She had done nothing when they go to the half-mile pole, so we were in a good spot.
"I was thrilled to inherit the lead like that. I thought we would be close, but I didn't think they'd go 51 and 16 on a lightning-fast turf course. Every now and then you get in the right spot at the right time."
"They gave me the race in the first part of it," Leparoux said. "We ran very slow, but she finished very strong."
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF RACING STAKES
Bill Mott is in the National Racing Hall of Fame and took to the podium Friday morning to talk about one of the latest inductees, Royal Delta.
Then he won the race named after the institution in the afternoon.
Casa Creed outdueled Starlight Racing's Sombeyay to win the Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame by a head as the 2-1 betting favorite under Junior Alvarado.
"I got a little worried at the three-eighths pole," Alvarado said. "I thought I had the race measured. I never thought he [Sombeyay] was going to come through on the rail at that point.
"I let the horse in front [Award Winner] kind of go at a nice pace. Then the horse squeezed through the rail, it made things a little harder, and I had to start working a little early. But I knew turning for home that he's a fighter and he never gives up."
"He really showed us a lot of courage the entire stretch run," Mott said. "We've run him pretty hard. I don't think we'll be running him back at the meet. We'll probably give him a little break."
Casa Creed won for the second time in seven races this year and has run in every month on the calendar except April.
The connections for Tom's d'Etat decided to take a step back from graded stakes, and the 6-year-old stepped up by winning the $100,000 Alydar at a mile and an eighth on the main track.
Coming off a ninth to City of Light in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup, a second to McKinzie in the Grade II Alysheba and a second to Seeking the Soul in the Grade II Stephen Foster, Tom's d'Etat and jockey Joel Rosario won the Alydar by a non-threatening length over Wooderson.
With the win, Tom's d'Etat is 3-for-3 at Saratoga, breaking his maiden here in 2016 and winning an optional claiming race in 2017.
"He has the talent," trainer Al Stall Jr. said. "He loves this course and deserves to win a race like this at Saratoga. We were considering entering the Whitney, but ultimately we decided he could use some class relief, and he gives us a lot to look forward to coming off this performance."
Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.