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Breeders' Cup 2017

Turbulent Descent After More Graded Glory in Acorn

Turbulent Descent
Twice a Grade 1 winner already, Turbulent Descent will try to make it three when she faces five other sophomore fillies in Saturday's $300,000 TVG Acorn.

Race 6 on Saturday's 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card, the TVG Acorn will kick off the $1 million guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 6 at approximately 2:34 p.m.

A California invader, Turbulent Descent visits New York for the first time on the heels of a dominant victory in the Grade 2 Beaumont over the synthetic surface at Keeneland on April 17. A five-length victress that day at seven furlongs, her previous race was the 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks over conventional dirt, which she won by a neck. Prior to that she was defeated by Zazu in the Grade 1, one-mile Las Virgenes, her sophomore debut, after closing out a 3-for-3 all-synthetic juvenile campaign with a win in the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Starlet.

"She won the routes, but they're not her game," said Mike Puype, who trains the daughter of Congrats for Blinkers On Racing. "She's a brilliant one-turn race horse and she wins with speed to spare when she sprints. Obviously she's got to handle a different racetrack, but outside of that, her training and her works have just been unbelievable. It's hard to say how she'll handle the track here, you don't know until it happens, but in my mind, good horses don't seem to care. They seem to get it done."

Puype said he decided after the Santa Anita Oaks that the filly was best at distances up to and including a mile, and that the TVG Acorn was an ideal spot given his future plans for her.

"She was all out to get to the wire [in the Santa Anita Oaks] and I said after that 'We've got to go back to one turn,'" said Puype. "We had to leave the temptation of the Kentucky Oaks away and then focus on the best agenda of races where you're ducking no one and you put it on the line. There's no question you've got to come to this race, and you've got to go to the Test [G1, August 6, Saratoga Race Course]. So, we're here to run this race and then we'll try to show up for the Test, and then figure out what to do and how to get her to the Breeders' Cup."

David Flores, Turbulent Descent's regular rider, will fly in from California to ride the 3-5 morning-line favorite and the pair will leave from post position 2.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a duo to challenge the favorite, the lightly-raced WinStar Farm trainee Savvy Supreme along with Bobby Flay's Her Smile.

Narrowly defeated in her maiden effort at Gulfstream Park going 6 ½ furlongs, Savvy Supreme returned to graduate by 5 ¼ lengths in her second start and won the Classy Mirage overnight stakes at Belmont on May 18 in her most recent outing. The TVG Acorn will be her first race beyond 6 ½ furlongs and she has been on or near the lead in all of her previous efforts.

"She seems to have taken a big step forward," said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Pletcher. "With the style she used last time, going a mile shouldn't be a problem. We've always thought of her as a real quality filly and this is the right spot."

Her Smile exits an 11th place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 6, her first start for Pletcher, having been trained previously by Leigh Delacour. In her final start for Delacour she was second in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 9.

"We've had her in the barn for a while now, so she's had the chance to take to our program a little bit," said Thomas. "The cutback certainly shouldn't be a problem. She ran a great one-turn mile in the Comely, so if anything it would be a benefit."

John Velazquez will ride Savvy Supreme, the morning-line second choice at 5-1, from post 3. Her Smile, 8-1, will break from the rail with Garrett Gomez.

Another New York stakes winner returning in the TVG Acorn is Darley Stable's It's Tricky, the eight-length heroine of Aqueduct's Busher on February 11, her third win from as many starts. Sent from Aqueduct to Florida after her dominant effort in the Busher, she finished fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park Oaks behind runaway winner R Heat Lightning.

"She's training very well since she came back from Florida," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "She's already a stakes winner, but we're very interested in a Grade 1 placing or a Grade 1 win. Being that she's doing great, and it's a smaller field, we think she deserves a chance. We think she's well-suited to two turns, but we don't think that a one-turn mile will be a negative for her - she doesn't need two turns to be effective."

Eddie Castro, who rode the Mineshaft filly to victory in the Busher, will be back aboard the 6-1 morning-line third choice from post position 4.

Victoria's Wildcat, who posted a mild upset to win the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard May 6, will attempt to shake things up again in the TVG Acorn. The daughter of Bellamy Road broke her maiden in allowance company at Churchill Downs in her fifth start last fall - just her second on conventional dirt - then went to the sidelines for the winter. She has run twice so far in 2011, taking a 6 ½-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream on March 19 en route to the seven-furlong Eight Belles.

"We were either going to run here, or in the [1 1/16-mile] Mother Goose," said trainer Bob Hess. "Actually I think this is probably better than the Mother Goose because it's a better transitional distance. A mile should be easy - when she got to the front [in the Eight Belles] she completely switched leads, her head went up, she hit the air brakes and basically trotted home. I think she'll be much better at a one-turn mile as long as there's enough pace. You can't change her running style and she's better when you gather her and produce late."

Kent Desormeaux, who has ridden Victoria's Wildcat in all of her starts on dirt, has the call from post 5.

Completing the field for the TVG Acorn is Snow Fall, who began her career on the turf for trainer Mike Stidham, running second and third in two maiden contests, then galloped in an off-the-turf race to earn her diploma at Fair Grounds Race Course. She became a stakes winner in her most recent start, taking the one-mile, off-the-turf Pike Creek at Delaware Park on May 21.

Tabbed at 8-1 on the morning line, she will leave from post 6 with Javier Castellano.










Her Smile (VA)

G K Gomez


T A Pletcher



Turbulent Descent (FL)

D R Flores


M Puype



Savvy Supreme (KY)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher



It's Tricky (KY)

E Castro


K P McLaughlin



Victoria's Wildcat (KY)

K J Desormeaux


R B Hess, Jr.



Snow Fall (KY)

J Castellano


M Stidham



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