Undefeated Turbulent Descent passed her first distance test with relative ease when she took command in the stretch and held sway to win the $409,250 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths Dec. 11 at Hollywood Park.
Making her third lifetime start for Blinkers On Racing and partners and trained by Mike Puype, the good-looking 2-year-old daughter of Congrats --Roger's Sue, by Forestry, stalked the pace for jockey David Flores before grabbing the lead on the outside from May Day Rose near mid-stretch.
Under hand urging from Flores, Turbulent Descent proved best as the 11-10 favorite in the field of eight. The final time was 1:44.18 for the 1 1/16-mile distance over Hollywood's Cushion Track.
Big Tiz, fanned four wide leaving the final turn, was second best for Patrick Valenzuela by 1 1/4 lengths over the late-closing Tell a Kelly, who charged from last with Joel Rosario aboard but ran out of time.
Turbulent Descent is likely done for the year, Puype said, with her next logical target the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Feb. 5. That would be the Florida-bred bay filly's first race on dirt.
All of her races so far have come at Hollywood, beginning with a six-furlong maiden event during the Oak Tree meet Oct. 3 that she won by three-quarters of length. She came back in the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes Nov. 21, which she won handily by 1 1/2 lengths as the odds-on choice.
In all of her starts, she has settled in hand, rated patiently, and then came home with an impressive drive to score with little urging.
“I was never worried about this race," Puype said. "I never thought for a second she wouldn’t handle two turns. She’s just a really 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. We’ll give her a little break right now and she’ll show up in about two months.’’
In the Starlet, Flores angled Turbulent Descent to the inside mid-pack after a slight bobble at the start as Kentucky invader Nina Fever hustled to the early lead. May Day Rose, the runaway Sharp Cat Stakes winner in her last start, was content to take second with Big Tiz third.
Nina Fever showed the way through solid splits of :23.55, :47.14, and 1:12.13 before May Day Rose, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, cut into her one-length advantage and soon took the lead. Turbulent Descent was about three lengths behind in fourth along the inside as they made their way into the final turn.
May Day Rose held a slight edge leaving the turn as Turbulent Descent, angled three wide, and Big Tiz on the extreme outside, came to challenge. May Day Rose and Turbulent Descent battled to nearly mid-stretch, but the outside filly was too much and she edged away while drifting inward a bit after getting clear. She appeared to tire a bit in the late stages as Flores showed her the whip, but she had enough left to win in measured style.
"I wasn’t going to take any chances and I would have hit her, but it was not needed," said Flores, who previously won the Starlet in 2006 with Romance Is Diane. "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 horse she is. The relief is she handled the two turns well.”
Big Tiz, after losing some ground, continued to come on in the stretch but also drifted in as they neared the finish.
Valenzuela said Big Tiz fought him around the first turn.
"She would have had a little more left at the end if I could have gotten her to relax that first part," he said. "She ran a great race. The filly that beat me is a real nice filly, but I think we can turn the tables on her.”
Tell a Kelly came seemingly from nowhere to get third by three parts of a length after languishing in last for much of the journey. May Day Rose held on for fourth, 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
Then came Zazu, True Way of Grace, Nina Fever. and Luna Grande.
Ocala Stud bred Turbulent Descent, who sold for $180,000 as a 2-year-old in training at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Company in April.
Turbulent Descent earned $245,550 for the victory, boosting her total to $328,350.
Under equal weights of 120 pounds, she paid $4.20, $3.20, and $2.10 and topped a healthy $98 exacta. Big Tiz, who ran third as the favorite in the Sharp Cat at Hollywood Nov. 7, returned $17.60 and $5.40. Darley Debutante (gr. I) winner Tell a Kelly, improving off a seventh-place effort in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) in her last start, was $2.60 to show.
Earlier in the day, Cost of Freedom set a Cushion Track record, rolling to an easy victory in the $71,706 Miles Tyson Stakes (VIDEO) .
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 1/4-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, 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.