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Breeders' Cup 2017

Turbulent Descent Remains Perfect in Starlet

Favored Turbulent Descent remained undefeated and made a little history with her victory in the $412,250 Hollywood Starlet Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Becoming the first 2-year-old filly to win both the Moccasin Stakes and the Starlet, the daughter of Congrats had no trouble handling two turns in her first venture beyond seven furlongs.

Perfectly placed by jockey David Flores, Turbulent Descent saved ground in fourth while Nina Fever and May Day Rose argued the pace, swung out for room at the head of the stretch and inched clear with about an eighth of a mile to run in the Grade I.

At the finish, Turbulent Descent had 1 ¼ lengths on 37-1 shot Big Tiz. The fifth Florida bred winner of the Starlet ran the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in 1:44.18. Owned by a partnership that includes Blinkers On Racing Stable and Bill Strauss and trained by Mike Puype, Turbulent Descent is 3-for-3 with earnings of $328,350.

Giving Flores his second Starlet win in five years – he clicked with Romance Is Diane in 2006 – Turbulent Descent paid $4.20, $3.20 and $2.20.

Third as 8-5 favorite in the Sharp Cat Stakes Nov. 7, Big Tiz finished 1 ¼ lengths in front of 2-1 second choice Tell a Kelly.

Ridden for the first time by Patrick Valenzuela, Big Tiz returned $17.60 and $5.40. The show price on Tell a Kelly was $2.60.

May Day Rose, who was trying to give trainer Bob Baffert his third victory in the Starlet, wound up three-quarters of a length behind Tell a Kelly. Zazu, True Way of Grace, Nina Fever and Luna Grande completed the order of finish.

An unraced maiden a little more than two months ago, Turbulent Descent, who is out of the Forestry mare Roger’s Sue, has been a quick developer. Prior to her win in the seven-furlong Moccasin Nov. 21, she broke into the game with a handy score against maidens Oct. 3 during the inaugural Oak Tree/Hollywood Park meet.

“I wasn’t going to take any chances and I would have hit her, but it was not needed,’’ said Flores. “I just hand rode her all the way out. I just showed her the whip. It was a little more like a test today, but she won just the same. I am a little excited and a little relieved.

“I’m excited because I can tell what kind of a horse she is. The relief is she handled the two turns well. She was relaxed and was just great.’’

Puype said Turbulent Descent, who was purchased for $160,000 at a 2-year-old sale in April in her home state, would be given a couple of months off before making her 2011 debut.

“I was never worried about this race,’’ said Puype. “I never thought for a second she wouldn’t handle two turns. She’s just a real good filly and she’s got a great, promising future ahead of her.

“She won just as easily as she did the other two times. No question about it. She’s very impressive. It was another perfect ride. David’s done real well with her.’’

Earlier in the day, Cost of Freedom set a Cushion Track record, rolling to an easy victory in the $71,706 Miles Tyson Stakes.

Winning his third in a row over the Hollywood Park main track, the 7-year-old Cee’s Tizzy gelding broke alertly under jockey Joe Talamo and was never menaced.

The 4 ¼ length score was the 11th in 21 starts for the California bred, who is owned by Gary and Cecil Barber and trained by John Sadler.

Out of the Moscow Ballet mare Freedom Dance, Cost of Freedom has earned $857,983. He ran the five furlongs in 56.14 seconds, eclipsing the former record of 56.68 set by the 2-year-old filly Necessary Evil May 31, 2009.

Cost of Freedom, who has won five of nine over Cushion Track, paid $2.80 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite. There was no show wagering. Quick Enough paid $2.40. Square Deal and El Scorpio completed the order of finish. Lt. Hopeful and Bamaha Breeze were scratched.

“That was unbelievable,’’ said Talamo. “I thought he’d win, but not like that. He broke great today. It seems one race he does and another he doesn’t. As long as he keeps winning, it doesn’t matter.

“It seems every spot they pick is a winning one. I’ve been on a couple of horses who set track records, but not that easy.’’

Sadler indicated Cost of Freedom will make his next start in either the $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes Jan. 22 or the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 29. Both races will be run at six furlongs over the new dirt surface at Santa Anita.

The race was named in honor of a son of Miles Standish and the Radiotherapy mare X-Factor. Trained by Frank Childs for owners P.L. and C.T. Grissom, Miles Tyson won both the Premiere – now the Shoemaker Mile – and Lakes and Flowers – now the Triple Bend – Handicaps in 1972 at Hollywood Park. Additionally that year, the Kentucky bred was second in the Hollywood Express and third in the Californian, Meteor and Los Angeles Handicaps.

One race before the Miles Tyson, trainer Mel Stute picked up the 2,000th victory of his career when 25-1 shot Score for Fun went gate-to-wire at 25-1 while defeating six other 2-year-old maiden claimers.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado-Alicea, who also won the eighth with 11-1 outsider Detroit Donnie, Score For Fun prevailed by 5 ¾ lengths. The Score Quick gelding is owned and was bred by Stute’s wife Annabelle.

A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Stute, 83, saddled his first winner (Egg Nog) in 1947 at Portland Meadows. He won the Jersey Derby, Preakness and Santa Anita Derby with Snow Chief in 1986. He also owns two Breeders’ Cup victories – Brave Raj (1986 Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita) and Very Subtle (1987 Sprint at Hollywood Park. Both Snow Chief and Brave Raj won Eclipse Awards in 1986. Snow Chief was champion 3-year-old and Brave Raj was champion 2-year-old filly.




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