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Kentucky Oaks Runner

The Acorn Stakes: Smooth Ascent

Turbulent Descent
Sometimes a horse’s name can play funny tricks on coincidence. In 2010 Blind Luck and Lookin At Lucky had more than their fair share of “luck” during the racing season and both ironically ended the year with a slew of graded stakes wins and the championship titles for their division. Indian Blessing continually proved herself the ultimate blessing to her connections during her career by becoming one of the most respected female sprinters in the country throughout 2007-09. But sometimes there is one horse that absolutely refuses to live up to the reality of their name and Turbulent Descent fits that category like a voice to music. She defies the meaning of her name in every sense of the two words. If you were to take her name and use the antonym’s for her title you’d be much closer to describing the career of this gifted filly; smooth ascent. Not only has Turbulent Descent encountered very few bumps in her road, she overcame the only one that ever gave her trouble when she turned the tables on Zazu in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1) after finishing second to that filly in her 2011 debut. The only way you can use her name properly in the Acorn is to say that she will be descending to the lower level of her opposition entering the same gate with them.

In the 81st running of the Acorn Stakes Turbulent Descent will be an overwhelming favorite to continue her dominance over sophomore fillies around one turn. A short but solid field of six fillies is entered to contest the prestigious Grade 1 $300,000 event. Her Smile will break from post number one for trainer Todd Pletcher and is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay. She enters off an 11th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (gr.1) on May 6th, finishing ahead of only two fillies. Before the Oaks she finished 2 ¼ lengths behind Hot Summer in the one mile Comely Stakes (gr.3) at Aqueduct. Her most recent work, a :49.07 half mile breeze, was solid enough but nothing spectacular. She does appear to be better at the mile distance than when she is stretched out so expect her to improve off the Oaks fiasco and be sitting right behind the pacesetters into the first turn.

Turbulent Descent in many ways exemplifies the perfect mix of talent, heart and pedigree. Undefeated in three starts last year, including the Moccasin Stakes and Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, Turbulent Descent was given just two months off before making her sophomore debut in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr.1), finishing 1 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Zazu with future Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty another 4 ¼ lengths back in third. Stretched out to the 1 1/16 miles distance for the first time in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1), Turbulent Descent proved game in holding off a fast closing Zazu to win by a neck. Trainer Mike Puype announced she would stick to one turn races for the rest of the year, skipping the Kentucky Oaks, after her hard fought victory. Next up she captured the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes by an effortless 5 lengths in her final Acorn prep. Five works have been published for the Congrats filly since taking the Beaumont including two bullet works at five and six furlongs with her most recent move a strong :47.60 half mile breeze. She looks as unbeatable as they come right now and will break from post number two.

[Turbulent Descent ranks #2, below only R Heat Lightning, on HRN's 3-year-old Fillies Ranking Page]

Savvy Supreme breaks from post number three and is taking a huge step up in class in the Acorn. With only three lifetime starts, two wins and a second to her career record she’s going to be up against all the class in the field and has a lot to prove. She broke her maiden on April 2nd at Gulfstream Park by 5 ¼ lengths and then captured the Classy Mirage Stakes over a short field by half a length at Belmont Park. There will be a lot for her to prove in the Acorn and I seriously doubt now is the time when she will step up.

It’s Tricky created quite a stir in racing circles when she easily won the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct on February 20th by eight lengths to remain undefeated in three starts. In her last start her perfect three-race career crumbled like a house of cards when R Heat Lighting pulverized the Gulfstream Oaks (gr.2) field by more than eight lengths with It’s Tricky finishing more than twenty lengths behind in fourth. Now she returns for her first race since the Gulfstream Oaks and is looking for vindication. She probably shouldn’t be showing up in the Acorn looking for it. Her last work was a three furlong move that went in :36.21 after posting a slow :50.05 half mile move on May 29th. She’s a good filly but not top of the tier quality in my opinion, she appears to be too slow in her races. The Mineshaft filly will break from post number four.

Eight Belles (gr.3) winner Victoria’s Wildcat is riding a three race win streak into the Acorn Stakes and looks like exactly the type of filly that could upset the Acorn if any can, but that probably won’t happen. She defeated a decent field in the Eight Belles that included Honey Chile, Home Sweet Aspen and graded stakes winner Pomeroy’s Pistol but has yet to face anything close to the caliber of Turbulent Descent. She has clocked three 4 furlong works since winning the Eight Belles, the latest was a strong move she completed in :47.97 to rank as the 4th fastest of 72 horses working the distance. This will be the Bellamy Road filly’s first start at Belmont and she will break from post position five.

Snow Fall took three tries to break her maiden but won by more than five lengths when she finally broke through on February 25th. In just four career starts the War Front filly has finished third, second and won twice. Her last start came in the form of a 3 ¾ length romp in the Pine Creek Stakes over a field of just three other fillies on May 21st. She clocked an excellent final time of 1:36.22 for the mile in the Pine Creek but has turned in one semi-slow work since then,  a :49.00 flat half mile on Monday at Deleware Park.

Turbulent Descent is one very tough nut and a deserving favorite; she should win the Acorn easily. The real race will be for second and third money and I like Victoria’s Wildcat and Her Smile to round out the top three. The Acorn Stakes will be run as the 6th race on the Belmont Stakes undercard and has a estimated post time of 2:34 P.M. eastern time.



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Older Comments about The Acorn Stakes: Smooth Ascent ...

I agree 100% Brian, she's going to be tough to beat out for the divisional championship if she continues as strong all year.
She's been the best 3yo filly in the nation, in my opinion, and will be my one single of the six consecutive graded stakes on Belmont day.

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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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