Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Returning to the scene of her most important career victory to date, Turbulent Descent looked much as she did one year ago in Saratoga’s Test Stakes, running to a professional victory in this afternoon’s Grade 1 Ballerina. While the beautiful daughter of Congrats proved once again that she is on the short list of finest female sprinters in the land, not everything was the same as last time she took home a grade 1 at the Spa. No longer ridden by David Flores, sporting the yellow and red silks of Blinkers On Racing Stable, or a member of the Mike Puype barn, the 2.0 version of Turbulent Descent is now part of the powerful Coolmore Racing team, trained by the ubiquitous Todd Pletcher, and ridden by brand new Hall of Fame inductee, John Velazquez. The big change came as the result of a unexpected and undisclosed offer for the filly was received and accepted. A “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Turbulent Descent did her new connections proud as she stalked the pace set by longshot All Due Respect through fractions of :23 and 45 1/5, before moving quickly to the leader in unison with second choice, Nicole H. As the field straightened out, the 2-5 favorite outclassed her competition on the inside and drove to a nearly two length lead as she moved to the inside. Rallying third choice Derwin’s Star made up ground on the outside, but Turbulent Descent never looked in danger hitting the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front while scoring her eighth victory in only twelve lifetime starts. That impressive record also includes seven stakes wins, four of which being of the grade 1 variety. Final time for the seven panels over the fast track was 1:22.13
Unlike what transpired in late 2011, Turbulent Descent appears to be moving in the right direction for November’s Breeders’ Cup. After last year’s romping win in the Test, things went a little off the boil for the then three-year-old filly, which had been in training since the previous fall. A troubled trip and 5th place finish in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint as the favorite was a little disappointing, but then she ran an uncharacteristically poor race in the Grade 1 La Brea in December at Santa Anita, to finish of an excellent year on a real sour note.
After a long freshening, she made her 2012 debut a winning one when on June 17, she showed her class with a sharp win in the Desert Stormer Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park, earning a career high 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. After today's victory, Turbulent Descent not only became racing’s newest millionaire, but she also completed the rare feat of being a grade 1 winner at the age of 2, 3, and 4. She is also now two for two in 2012, and looking like a real threat in the division and to reverse her fortunes from last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.