P and G Stable and Off the Hook's Turbo Compressor solidified his status as a
rising turf star with a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $505,000
United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park. Capitalizing on his role as
controlling speed, he completed a quick graded double for trainer Todd Pletcher
and jockey Joe Bravo, who one race earlier combined to win the Grade 2 Monmouth
Cup with Rule.
"What a day," Bravo said after recording his first win in the United Nations. "I'm very fortunate to have ridden two great horses this afternoon. Todd is simply the best."
Turbo Compressor, winner of the June 16 Colonial Turf Cup in front-running fashion last time out, was dispatched as the 5-2 second choice here. After breaking sharply, he had no difficulty in securing the lead from longshot Freud's Honour, and settled into an easy rhythm through splits of :25, :49 4/5, 1:15 and 1:39 1/5 on the firm turf. Meanwhile, California shipper and 2-1 favorite Slim Shadey lagged at the rear of the pack, in tandem with Brilliant Speed, as they conceded a significant tactical advantage.Air Support, runner-up to Turbo Compressor at Colonial Downs, began to advance nearing the final turn, and worked his way into second. But Turbo Compressor had not yet deployed in earnest. Stretching clear on cue, Turbo Compressor opened up at the head of the lane, reaching 1 1/4 miles in 2:01 3/5, and had the race firmly in the bag. A game Air Support kept up the chase and reduced the margin to 1 3/4 lengths at the wire, but never looked like threatening the impressive winner.
Turbo Compressor negotiated 1 3/8 miles in 2:12 4/5 and returned $7, $4.20 and $3.20.
"He really flew home," Pletcher said. "He was able to lay down the fractions and that was just what we were looking for. He still came home in :22 and change and that's hard to do at a mile and three eighths. This horse is versatile; he's won from one mile to a mile and three eighths, so we have a lot of options for him."
Air Support had two lengths to spare over Al Khali, who got up to edge Freud's Honour by a neck for third. Slim Shadey belatedly made up ground in fifth, followed by Brilliant Speed and Eldaafer.
David Flores, the rider of Slim Shadey, reported that his chances were compromised out of the gate.
"He got slammed pretty good right at the start," Flores said. "I wanted to be in the top three spots early on, but after a start like that I had no choice but to be at the back."
Turbo Compressor's first graded victory boosted his bankroll to $920,960 from his 14-7-1-2 line. At three last season, he raced only on dirt, with his highlights being a 10 1/2-length romp in the Carl G. Rose Classic at Calder, a score in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, and placings in the Grade 3 Pegasus and OBS Sales Sophomore Stakes.
In his 2012 debut, Turbo Compressor finished third in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic, which has turned out to be a key race. The victorious Mucho Macho Man just landed Saturday's Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont, and Sunshine Millions runner-up Ron the Greek has garnered the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap this season.
Switched to the Gulfstream Park turf next out on March 18, Turbo Compressor rolled to a 5 1/2-length conquest in fast time. The free-running ridgling was taken out of his game when wrangled off the pace in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and faded to eighth in his only turf loss so far. Turbo Compressor bounced back at Colonial, and has now won two straight.
Bred by Bridlewood Farm in Florida, Turbo Compressor brought $22,000 as an OBS April two-year-old in training. The son of Halo's Image is a three-quarter brother to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Southern Image and a half-brother to Stormy Dixie, winner of last year's Politely Stakes over the Monmouth turf.
Turbo Compressor is out of the unraced Wild Event mare Dixieland Event, herself a half-sister to Southern Image as well as Japanese Grade 3 victor Black Bar Spin. This is the same female line as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Jolie's Halo and Grade 2 scorers Sharrood, Cougarized and Icy Atlantic.