Solidly favored in each of her nine races and a winner of three Grade I stakes, Turbulent Descent might have some explaining to do after her fifth-place failure in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 4.
Trainer Mike Puype stepped into the breach as the 3-year-old bay filly prepared for Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita. “She’ll redeem herself on the 31st,” Puype told the Daily Racing Form. “I have no doubt about it.”
Turbulent Descent will be opposed by eight other sophomore fillies in the 39th running of the seven-furlong event that heads a New Year’s Eve program of nine races beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The Congrats filly, who has earned $858,350 from six wins and a pair of seconds, will carry high weight of 123 pounds and regular rider David Flores as she attempts to rebound from her Breeders’ Cup experience.
Bumped at the start of the seven-furlong competition over a Churchill Downs surface termed “good,” Turbulent Descent led into the stretch while racing four wide before winding up 4 ¼ lengths behind victorious Musical Romance.
“The trip was murderous in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Puype. “She’ll have good conditions here. She’s the fastest 3-year-old filly out here.”
A winner of three stakes races at seven furlongs including Saratoga’s Grade I Test Stakes prior to the Breeders’ Cup, Turbulent Descent drew post position No. 2 in Saturday’s field of nine. Purchased for $160,000 out of a Florida 2-year-olds in training sale last year by Blinkers On Racing Stable and partners, she would elevate her earnings to $1,038,350 with a triumph in the La Brea.
Her opposition includes Jenny Craig’s Home Sweet Aspen, never worse than second in six starts for trainer John Sadler before unsuccessfully trying grass in Hollywood Park’s Cool Air Stakes four weeks ago, and California Nectar, a two-time stakes winner at seven furlongs over the course.
Sadler dismisses Home Sweet Aspen’s turf encounter. “She just doesn’t like the turf,” he said. “I expect her to run back to form.” Joel Rosario rides the homebred daughter of Candy Ride whose 3-3-0 record in seven starts has generated earnings of $157,822.
California Nectar, trained by Doug O’Neill for Suarez Racing, won Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes in wire-to-wire fashion at the La Brea distance last January following a similar win in the California Breeders’ Championship. Hector Berrios rides the winner of $324,000 from a 5-4-1 record in 14 career starts.
The complete field for the La Brea Stakes, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Home Sweet Aspen, Joel Rosario, 118; Turbulent Descent, David Flores, 123; May Day Rose, Martin Garcia, 118; Include Me Out, Joseph Talamo, 118; Sarah’s Secret, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Sugarinthemorning, Garrett Gomez, 118; Great Hot, Chantal Sutherland, 118; California Nectar, Hector Berrios, 118, and Teddy’s Promise, Victor Garcia, 118.