Filly/Mare Sprint: Turbulent Descent aces Test

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Mike Puype uttered three simple words from under a pair of quaking binoculars as the field swept past the three-eighths pole in the Test, Saturday’s Grade I companion to the Whitney.

“Here she comes.”

And there she goes.

Turbulent Descent launched into overdrive, dispatching Pomeroy’s Pistol, American Lady and Roman Treasure with alacrity and simplicity. She drew off to win by nearly 4 lengths over Pomeroy’s Pistol and Roman Treasure, finishing 7 furlongs in 1:24.17.

Announcer Tom Durkin was a little more long-winded than Puype, “Turbulent Descent is kicking in now and here she comes on the outside.”

Either way, the announcer, the trainer and anybody watching saw something special.

“Her best race yet,” Puype said, walking down the steps to the winner’s circle. “Her best race yet. By far.”

Pomeroy’s Pistol, Roman Treasure and American Lady hooked up through the first furlong before Roman Treasure gained control of the pace chores. American Lady tracked in second, Pomeroy’s Pistol sat third with Turbulent Descent content in fourth. Ava K., Salty Strike, Coax Liberty and Her Smile were left scrambling to keep pace. Midway on the turn, Turbulent Descent stoked up her kick and in a matter of strides, it was over.

As Turbulent Descent straightened in the stretch, David Flores threw a couple of crosses, forcing her to switch leads, then looked under his right shoulder for danger, he held his gaze for a moment longer than usual, simply taking in Saratoga sky because there was nothing coming near the 3-year-old phenom. Flores never took his whip hand off the reins.

Owned by Blinkers On Racing and a slew of partners, the Florida-bred daughter of Congrats improved her career record to six wins from eight starts for more than $800,000 in earnings.

“I knew she’d run big, she’s a machine at 7 furlongs, it’s her distance that’s all there is to it,” Puype said. “Those fillies were in trouble before she headed for home because she was loaded.”

Turbulent Descent, an OBS April graduate, won her debut at Oak Tree in October, then took the Moccasin and Hollywood Starlet to close her 2-year-old season. She returned in February to finish second in the Las Virgenes before rallying to win the Santa Anita Oaks by a neck. Shipped east for the first time, she won the Beaumont at Keeneland before failing against It’s Tricky in the Acorn June 11. Puype shipped her back to California and circled the premier sprint stakes for 3-year-old fillies in the nation

“This is the ultimate,” Puype said of the Test. “We announced our plan after the Santa Anita race, we knew immediately when she won that one race, that the Acorn and the Test were her races.”

Puype stretched Turbulent Descent to a one-turn mile in the Acorn but she couldn’t reel in It’s Tricky, who came here to win the CCA Oaks on opening weekend. In the Acorn, Turbulent Descent dusted Her Smile by 10 lengths, she went on to win the Prioress.

“How about the Acorn? It produced three Grade I winners next time out. I don’t know why Her Smile didn’t fire today, they were good horses, for us to put them away like that, she’s worth a fortune now. A fortune. A fortune,” Puype said. “That was an Eclipse Award-winning race and an Eclipse Award-winning effort. I’ve still got to come big in the Breeders’ Cup to give it a chance, It’s Tricky has two races this year, she’s got to deliver. If nothing else, she’ll be filly sprinter of the year.”

Undefeated in three starts at 7 furlongs, Turbulent Descent won’t be deviating from what she does best.

“No reason to change,” Puype said. “I thought the mile at Belmont was pushing it and I thought 7 furlongs today was optimum and it was. To have a horse going into the Breeders’ Cup, God willing she stays sound, it’s incredible, it’s incredible.”

After the Test, Puype walked to the racing office to pick up Turbulent Descent’s papers. Still unsure of where he was going, he looked for stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes before finding Horse ID.

“Andrew said I could pick up my papers today, will they sign off on them?” Puype asked. “I just won the Test. Mike Puype.”

Puype couldn’t resist opening the manila envelope and reading the back of the papers where victories are recorded. Right there in identifier Janet Reed’s handwriting, filling out line number six – the Test.

“They already did it, look at that,” Puype said. “I love it. Look at her record – Grade I, Grade I, Grade II, Grade I. That’s large.”