On the heels of her career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure, Turbulent Descent looks like she’s regained her form.
After winning the Grade I Test at Saratoga Race Course last year, Turbulent Descent had fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and the Grade I La Brea to close out her 3-year-old campaign. She came back and won the Desert Stormer at Hollywood Park in June with that 104 Beyer, and now she’s coming back to Saratoga with an eye on today’s Grade I $500,000 Ballerina at seven furlongs.
“She’s the Test winner and obviously likes the track, so at this distance and on this surface, the Ballerina has been the plan since she’s arrived,” trainer Todd Pletcher, who began training the filly after her win at Hollywood Park, told the New York Racing Association. “She’s gotten to this point in very good order. She’s very intelligent, she’s got a good disposition . . . basically, she’s everything she was advertised to be.”
The Ballerina field includes, at least until the scratches are announced, multiple Grade I winner It’s Tricky. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, though, also has entered her in Sunday’s Grade I $600,000 Personal Ensign, where she is more likely to run. If she were to run today, It’s Tricky would be the 8-5 morning-line favorite. If not, Turbulent Descent inherits the favorite’s role at 9-5.
After the Test win, Turbulent Descent was 6-2-0 from eight career starts. Pletcher took over training of the filly after she was privately sold to Coolmore Stud after the Desert Stormer.
“When I went to California to look at her, [trainer] Mike Puype was very, very kind and generous and shared all kinds of information about her,” Pletcher said. “While I kind of knew what to expect, it’s always nice to have some extra time to get to know her and get a feel f or her early on. She’s made the transition very smooth for us.”
She has been ridden all her life by David Flores, so she’ll be switching jockeys for the first time. That switch, though, is to Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Nicole H was 6-2-0 from seven starts in a span covering part of 2010 and running into this year, but she has not won since the Correction at Aqueduct in February. She has three runner-up finishes in her last five races, though, and starts the day at 4-1.
Derwin’s Star drew the outside post and will be the third choice at 5-1. She won the Grade III Bed o’ Roses at this distance for trainer Steve Kiesaris two starts back.
Belle of the Hall, All Due Respect and Island Bound round out the field.
Trainer Ian Wilkes will saddle Island Bound, who was beaten a neck Aug. 3 to C C’s Pal in the Grade II Honorable Miss here at six furlongs.
“We’re giving her a shot at a Grade I — it would be a wonderful thing for her owner, Robert Manfuso,” Wilkes said. “Maybe she’s not good enough to beat these. Maybe she is. We’ll find out. But the good thing about her is she tries.”