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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Calling for Turbulence

A healthy 117 3-year-old fillies have been nominated to the 137th Kentucky Oaks. Leading the pack of nominees is undefeated 2010 Champion Two Year Old Filly Awesome Feather. Currently the undefeated champ is under light exercise after having suffered a non-career threatening tendon injury. It remains to be seen if she can progress quickly enough to make the Kentucky Oaks field but it is doubtful as of now. Other well known names on the list include leading Kentucky Oaks contender Kathmanblu as well as Zazu, Turbulent Descent, Dancinginherdreams, R Heat Lightning, It’s Tricky and Tell A Kelly, but two of those names will be garnering more attention than all the rest put together this weekend. Turbulent Descent and Zazu are set to renew their rivalry Saturday with several capable fillies joining the fray.

The Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks on March 5th has drawn a small but very talented field of five sophomore fillies. Just one of those entered is not a graded stakes winner and of the remaining four three are Grade 1 winners. Leading the field in the 1 1/16 mile race are Grade 1 winners Turbulent Descent, Zazu and A Z Warrior.

The Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. 1) on February 5th resulted in the first loss of Turbulent Descent’s young career when she finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Zazu. If trainer Mike Puype has his way his talented young charge will be returning to the winner’s circle for the first time since her win in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr.1) last December in this Saturday’s Santa Anita Oaks. Puype says that Turbulent was short in the Las Virgenes and states she will “improve significantly” this weekend. She has turned in two works since finishing second in the Las Virgenes Stakes last month. The first was a brilliant 5 furlong move in :58.80 at Hollywood Park on February 21st, a bullet move that turned many heads. Her last work on Monday came in a less flashy 1:00.60 for the five furlongs, but still a very solid time, she will be much sharper in the Santa Anita Oaks than she was in the Las Virgenes.

Zazu snapped a three race losing streak in the Las Virgenes when she launched an impressive rally from well back to defeat Turbulent Descent in the Grade 1 event. She had previously finished well behind her opponent in both the Hollywood Starlet and Moccasin Stakes in 2010 before finishing a close second to California Nectar in the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr.2) to begin the year. Her record has shown progress in each of her last four starts and it should only continue in the Oaks. Her last work when she went 6 furlongs in 1:12.40 on Sunday was excellent.

A Z Warrior is the most intriguing entry in the field. Last year the talented filly broke her maiden at first asking for trainer Bob Baffert at Hollywood Park in July when she easily defeated Rigoletta. In her second start A Z Warrior finished second with a good rally to Wickedly Perfect in the Sorrento Stakes (gr.3). Next she finished 5th in the Darley Debutante and then proceeded to take Belmont Park by storm, winning the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes over R Heat Lightning in a hand ride, geared down approaching the wire. She finished last of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies due to a bruised foot in early November and has been on the sidelines since, slowly working her way back. On Monday she turned in a five furlong work in :59.60 and before that she posted two consecutive bullet moves. She is definitely fit.

May Day Rose is the second runner entered in the Santa Anita Oaks field and the front running filly will break from post position number one. She started the year out with a bang, winning the Grade 3 Santa Ysable Stakes over a very small field at the same 1 1/16 mile distance as the Oaks. In the Las Virgenes Stakes May Day Rose was bumped coming out of the gate, proceeded to duel with California Nectar through suicidal fractions before taking over the lead around the far turn and then faded to finish fourth. She will no doubt be setting the pace in the Oaks and she comes in off a bullet five furlong move in :57.80 at Santa Anita last week.

[Check out HRN's 2011 Kentucky Oaks Contender rankings where Turbulent Descent, Zazu, May Day Rose and A Z Warrior all rank in the Top 10]

In post position number four is the only filly without a graded stakes win on her resume in the Santa Anita Oaks field. Kilograeme is undefeated in two starts, a maiden win and a first level allowance win, both at Santa Anita. She defeated the well regarded Rumor in her last start, running on late to snag the victory. She is taking a huge step up in class.

It’s a small field that comprises the 2011 edition of the Santa Anita Oaks but one that is certain to have a big impact on the 2011 sophomore filly division and the Kentucky Oaks. Turbulent Descent could once again start as the favorite Saturday and it is more than likely that her performance will be far better than her Las Virgenes Stakes run. She definitely received good conditioning from her game second place finish to Zazu and will be much sharper and produce a more sustained rally in the Oaks. Zazu should also improve off her Las Virgenes win and be right there at the finish but Turbulent Descent may have an edge. A Z Warrior is a tough one to place here but even if she’s as good as she was last year she will probably need to get this race under her belt before producing her best effort. May Day Rose could be all alone on the lead and being able to set her own pace should keep her much closer in contention down the homestretch but she’s probably not going to be able to hold off the closing kicks of Turbulent Descent and Zazu. Kilograeme should probably enjoy her undefeated status while she can. Unless she’s the freak of the year I don’t think there’s chance she’ll win the Oaks.

Photo Courtesy of Benoit Photo


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Older Comments about Calling for Turbulence...

Go Zazzy.....but I love em all....safe trip for everyone
Zazu and Turbulent Descent have begun quite the rivalry. I would not be at all surprised to see the two of them coming to the wire together in the Santa Anita Oaks.
I can't wait to see Awesome Feather back in action, she was wonderful! A Z Warrior is very intriguing in the Santa Anita Oaks, I think she would have run much better in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year if she hadn't been compromised by her foot bruise.
I'm an Awesome Feather fan...love that girl! A Z Warrior is my fav in the SAO. I do love the under dogs and am anxious to see Kilograeme run. Zazu and Calling for Turbence are talented quality fillies and I am looking forward to seeing these lovley ladies run!

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 Meet Brian Appleton 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing is my passion.  It started when at the age of 9 I found a book called Come On Seabiscuit by Ralf Moody on my Mother’s shelf.  Reading that book was one of the most exciting things I ever did as a kid. I read that book so many times that I had entire chapters committed to memory and the dust jacket worn and ripped beyond recognition from so much use. From that point on I was hopelessly addicted, reading every book on horse racing I could get my hands on, especially racehorse biographies. In 2009 I began my own blog called Rail Runner on wordpress and have continued to blog there to this day.

Curlin is probably my favorite racehorse of all time. Being able to attend six of his races will always be one of the highlights of my life. Whenever I need to re-find some inspiration in my life all I need to do is watch one of his incredible victories and relive the memories. Rachel Alexandra ranks right up there too. As any horse racing fan will tell you it’s almost impossible to choose just one favorite and I am no exception. Phar Lap and Citation are another two of my all time favorites and the list could go on and on.

I was homeschooled my entire life by my parents and graduated High School in 2006 at the age of 17.  Currently I am completing my Marketing degree with the hopes of entering the Thoroughbred Horse Racing field as a writer/journalist , or in the marketing/advertising/promotions side of the industry.

It is my dream to someday become a thoroughbred racehorse owner and win major races across the United States. Who wouldn't want that, right?  For about 1 ½ years I was part owner in a racehorse, Lord Greystoke raced, and owned by Hibiscus Stables. I was able to attend one of his races at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, 2009 and it was an incredible experience. While Lord Greystoke finished 7th in the race, being able to stand in an owner’s box not 30 feet away from Penny Chenery’s owner’s box was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Later in the year Lord Greystoke was finally able to break through with a 4 ½ length win which made me feel like one of the world’s most accomplished thoroughbred owners and further fueled my appetite. I think it would be rally neat to win the Appleton Stakes (Gr.3) at Gulfstream Park, even though I'm generally a bigger fan of dirt racing I can't help but think it would be neat for me to win a race with the same name as my last name.

That’s me in a nutshell, just a very passionate, driven young guy that wants to be a part of this amazing sport and share the adventure with other fans.

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