Sharp filly Turbulent Descent, unbeaten in two starts, faces a field that includes grade I winner Tell a Kelly in the $300,000 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 11 at Hollywood Park.
The Starlet, for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, attracted eight. It is the ninth on a 10-race card with a probable post of 4:35 p.m. PST.
Turbulent Descent, a Florida-bred daughter of Congrats out of the Forestry mare Roger's Sue, will be taking a big step in the Starlet, which will be her first try around two turns. She has turned in two effortless races to date, including a dazzling 1 1/2-length tally as the 7-10 choice in the Moccasin Stakes at seven furlongs over the Hollywood main track Nov. 21.
“I’m not even worried about two turns, not with her,” said trainer Mike Puype. “She’s so relaxed and tactical, she does everything like a distance horse. And she likes to win.”
Owned by a partnership that includes Blinkers On Racing Stable and Bill Strauss, Turbulent Descent sold for $160,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company Spring Sale of Two-year-Olds in Training in April. Ocala Stud bred the bay filly.
She won the Moccasin after stalking the pace down the backstretch for jockey David Flores and rallying three wide on the outside leaving the turn. She took the lead approaching mid-stretch and scored handily while drifting in a bit late. In her debut at six furlongs during the Oak Tree meet at Hollywood Oct. 3, she was never asked by Flores while stalking again from fourth, registering under a mild hand ride by three-quarters of a length.
Flores has the mount once more on the filly and they leave from post 5. Turbulent Descent worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on Dec. 5 in her only timed drill since the Moccasin.
"She’s ready to go,” said an enthusiastic Puype.
Tell a Kelly, from the John Sadler barn for Ike and Dawn Thrash, seeks to atone for her seventh-place showing when well backed in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
The Florida-bred daughter of Tapit won the Darley Debutante (gr. I) this summer and was second in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) as the 1-2 choice after that, but she was never involved in the BC Juvenile Fillies. She fell far off the pace and showed little while attempting to rally five paths wide from the quarter pole for jockey Calvin Borel. She finished 13 lengths behind the winner Awesome Feather.
Joel Rosario climbs aboard the chestnut filly for the first time and they will break from the far outside.
Sadler also entered Zazu, another daughter of Tapit who ran second in the Moccasin in her stakes bow. She is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss and ridden by Mike Smith.
May Day Rose, who ran away with the Sharp Cat Stakes at the Starlet distance for trainer Bob Baffert Nov. 7, comes into the race off a bullet six-furlong move in 1:11 4/5 at Hollywood Dec. 5. Kaleem S. Shah's speedy Florida-bred daughter of Rockport Harbor was making her route and stakes debut in the Sharp Cat and has led all the way in each of her last two races, including a half-length maiden score at 5 1/2 furlongs Sept. 4. Rafael Bejarano takes over for jockey Martin Garcia.
Another to watch in here is Kentucky shipper Nina Fever, who has won five of eight starts this year for trainer Wesley Ward, including three of her four tries on synthetic. The front-running daughter of Borrego comes off a second by a head as the odds-on favorite in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes over Woodbine's Polytrack Nov. 14. Nina Fever has worked twice since arriving at Blake Heap's stable last month.
The field also includes two others coming out of the Sharp Cat: second-place finisher True Way of Grace, adding blinkers for trainer Alexis Barba; and Big Tiz, a daughter of Tiznow who ran third as the 8-5 favorite.
The surprise package could be Florida shipper Luna Grande, who has two wins and three seconds in eight tries at Calder Casino and Racecourse this season. She arrived in trainer Kristin Mulhall's barn Dec. 5 after being purchased privately for owner Jim Hess of Chester Springs, Pa.
“We finished the deal Friday,” said Mulhall. The Florida-bred daughter of Mass Media recorded a come-from-behind 5 ¾-length victory in a 5 ½-furlong allowance race Nov. 20.
$300,000 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I, Race 9, 4:35 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. True Way of Grace (FL), P Atkinson, A Barba
2. Nina Fever (KY), G K Gomez, W A Ward
3. May Day Rose (FL), R Bejarano, B Baffert
4. Luna Grande (FL), V Espinoza, K Mulhall
5. Turbulent Descent (FL), D R Flores, M Puype
6. Big Tiz (KY), P A Valenzuela, M Glatt
7. Zazu (KY), M E Smith, J W Sadler
8. Tell a Kelly (FL), J Rosario, J W Sadler
All carry 120 pounds.
Blinkers On: True Way of Grace