Her first time stepping out of a new barn, Turbulent Descent came home with the same result she’s used to.
Winning the Grade I $500,000 Ballerina on Friday at Saratoga Race Course, the 4-year-old filly won for the eighth time in 12 career starts, won a Grade I for the third straight year and did it for the first time for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher took over training for the winner of last year’s Test when the filly was sold privately in June after winning the Dance Smartly.
“It just came to our attention that she was on the market, and I mentioned it to Mr. [Michael] Tabor,” Pletcher said. “The guys looked at her pedigree and race record, then decided to fly out to California and look at her and got the deal done.”
All Due Respect broke with the lead and kept it through the bend of the seven-furlong dirt race for fillies and mares 3 and older. Early in the backstretch, Island Bound was running second down on the rail, with Nicole H and Turbulent Descent stacked out from her right hip.
All Due Respect covered the first quarter-mile in 23.02, then the half in 45.33. The duo of Nicole H and Turbulent Descent left Island Bound behind in the turn and entered the top of the stretch coming out around the leader, with Derwin’s Star closing in behind them.
“For this type of race, it seemed like kind of a paceless race, really,” Pletcher said. “We anticipated maybe being a little closer than she sometimes had been, but we just let the race unfold. It was a pretty fast second quarter, 222⁄5 in the second quarter, so she was making up some ground under that. It was a good effort.”
Nicole H faded shortly after that, while Turbulent Descent went the other way, putting some distance between her and All Due Respect, while Derwin’s Star kept coming for second, 11⁄4 length back from the winner.
Jockey David Cohen had Derwin’s Star gaining on the winner throughout the final three furlongs.
“I definitely thought I had a chance,” he said. “We were sitting chilly the whole way. We cut the corner and got to slingshot out at the top of the lane. The winner was just amazing today. Steve [Klesaris, trainer] has done such an amazing job with this filly. He claimed her for $10,000 at [Laurel Park], and has won more than $400,000 with her.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez guided Turbulent Descent to the wire, and then the winner’s circle.
“I had been working her quite a few times in the morning, and she’s been working really well,” he said. “The only thing we were a little concerned about today was being on the outside with her not being able to get behind horses. She can get pretty aggressive, but she relaxed a little bit the first part of the race. Turning for home, we kind of bumped with the horse inside of us [Nicole H], and she got into the bridle a little bit earlier than I had hoped for, but she still ran a great race.”
Turbulent Descent went off as a 2-5 favorite, getting hammered at the window after morning-line favorite It’s Tricky scratched — as expected — to run instead in Sunday’s Grade I $600,000 Personal Ensign.
The Ballerina is a “win-and-you’re-in” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but Pletcher said Turbulent Descent may see action before that at Belmont.
Regardless, this filly already has established herself and secured a future after racing, whenever that may be.
“Now you’re talking about a filly who’s a Grade I winner at 2, 3 and 4, and it’s pretty rare,” Pletcher said. “Those are the kind of mares you love to have in your broodmare band when their racing career’s over. We’ve talked about it, it’s possible she could race next year, but we haven’t decided that yet.”
Around the track
Saratoga Springs High School graduate and apprentice jockey Dylan Davis will ride Sandyinthesun in the seventh race today for his father, former jockey-turned-trainer Robbie Davis.
Robbie Davis won his first race as a trainer with Sandyinthesun at 39.75-1 odds on Dec. 3 at Aqueduct. In that race, Sandyinthesun was ridden by Robbie’s daughter, Jackie Davis.
It remains the lone win in 10 career starts for the 5-year-old gelding. Like today’s seventh, it also was 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Sandyinthesun is 30-1 on the morning line. . . .
Silver Timber, a 9-year-old gelding who last won in an allowance optional claimer here Aug. 10, 2011, and has twice run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, ran fourth in the eighth race for trainer and Mechanicville native Chad Brown.
He finished just a neck out of third, and was 11⁄4 lengths from the nose of the winner. . . .
Wise Dan, who won the Grade II Fourstardave, worked a bullet four furlongs in 45.89, best of 45 at the distance on the Oklahoma Training Track. He went five furlongs for trainer Charles Lopresti in 563⁄5, and galloped out six in 1:10.
“I was looking for a 48, in hand,” he said. “He’s just a freak of nature. You never want a horse to go that fast for his first work, but if you don’t have a watch him, you don’t know. He’s just galloping .” . . .
Craving Carats breezed five furlongs in 1:00.95 to prep for Thursday’s Grade II $200,000 With Anticipation. Trainer Dale Romans will work Shackleford Sunday in preparation for the Sept. 1 Grade I $500,000 Forego. . . .
Also nominated to the Forego is A.G. Vanderbilt winner Poseidon’s Warrior, who worked four furlongs in 49.75.