11/02/2011 10:53AM

Breeders' Cup: Turbulent Descent follows plan to Filly and Mare Sprint

Barbara D. Livingston
Turbulent Descent has trained up to the BC Filly and Mare Sprint since a victory in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on Aug. 6.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – If the tote board means anything, Mike Puype made the right call for Turbulent Descent after the filly dominated the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 6. Puype decided not to give his stable star another race leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and put her through a rigorous training schedule in California instead.

The odds line is that Turbulent Descent will be a heavy favorite to prevail Friday at Churchill Downs in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint, but the bottom line has yet to be drawn. That final tally will be decided on the racetrack after Turbulent Descent breaks from post 3 under David Flores, facing 12 others in the fifth running of the seven-furlong race.

“Everything has gone perfectly for us since the Test, just the way we planned it out,” said Puype, who trains Turbulent Descent for the Blinkers On partnership. “Her works at Hollywood Park have been just what we wanted. She hasn’t missed an oat, hasn’t skipped a beat. Maybe they’ll outrun her Friday, but I can’t think of anything we’d change coming into this.”

Turbulent Descent, a Florida-bred by Congrats, has racked up 6 wins and 2 seconds from 8 career starts while keeping elite company within her now 3-year-old class. What has been most impressive, however, is her perfect 4-for-4 record at sprint distances.

“Her turn of foot is just so powerful,” Puype said. “It’s why we purposely avoided the longer races like the [Kentucky] Oaks. We really believe sprinting is what she does best, and we hope that pays off with a Breeders’ Cup win.”

The Filly and Mare Sprint is carded as the seventh of 10 Friday races, with post time set for 5:30 p.m. Eastern. It leads off a 50-cent pick four that ends with the BC Ladies’ Classic.

Another Florida-bred 3-year-old filly, Pomeroys Pistol, and the 2010 Filly and Mare Sprint runner-up, Switch, look like the top challengers to Turbulent Descent.

Pomeroys Pistol (post 12, Javier Castellano) is owned and trained by Amy Tarrant, who began training in 2003 and whose annual earnings from her small stable have averaged less than the $540,000 the winner will earn with a victory Friday. Pomeroys Pistol whipped older fillies and mares when she posted a four-length victory in her last race, the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park.

“We really haven’t overdone her training since the Gallant Bloom, because she doesn’t need it,” Tarrant said. “She’s fit, and she’s really come along this year. We’re very excited about being a part of all this.”

Switch (post 6, Joel Rosario) ran second by 2 1/4 lengths to Dubai Majesty in this race last year, amid a career marked by versatility and consistency. She was a closing third as the odds-on favorite in her last race, the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland, a six-furlong Polytrack race that Dubai Majesty used as a springboard to victory last year.

“We thought that was an excellent prep for her, especially now that she’ll be getting the extra furlong,” trainer John Sadler said. “Seven furlongs is probably her very best distance.”

[Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint: Get graded entries, comments by Brad Free, and more]

The balance of the field includes a smattering of fringe players and longshots. One of those, Tar Heel Mom (post 7, Alex Solis), has been training smartly over the Churchill surface after disappointing as the Gallant Bloom favorite in her 30th and most recent start.

“We’ve got the 7 [post] going 7 [furlongs] in the seventh [race],” said Alex Rankin, the locally based owner-breeder of 6-year-old Tar Heel Mom. “Everything’s looking good. To have her run big in her final race before the hometown crowd, that’d really be something.”

Other sleepers in the deep cast include Her Smile (post 11, John Velazquez), a 3-year-old owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay and trained by Todd Pletcher; and Shotgun Gulch (post 13, Garrett Gomez), one of a handful of deep closers in the field.

The Filly and Mare Sprint was first run at six furlongs in 2007 in the slop at Monmouth Park, but since has been maintained at seven furlongs. No 3-year-old has ever won it.

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Turbulent Descent
M. Puype
D. Flores 103, 97, 90 Deserving chalk sensational at one turn, this is her first against older 8-5
J. Sadler
J. Rosario 87, 92, 95 Seven-furlong beast in winter, raced wide and ran okay KEE tuneup 7-2
Pomeroys Pistol
A. Tarrant
J. Castellano 98, 95, 95 3-year-old filly continues to improve, crushed older last out BEL G2 4-1
M. Mitchell
J. Talamo 94, 93, 92 Better-than-looked tuneup in fast-pace turf sprint, upset chance 8-1
Irish Gypsy
B. Baffert
M. Garcia 84, 80, 95 Likely not this caliber except at HOL, but working fast on SA dirt 12-1
Musical Romance
W. Kaplan
J. Leyva 89, 88, 76 All-surface specialist won G2 on synthetic vs. much easier company 15-1
Great Hot
A. Avila
C. Sutherland 82, 91, 91 Best still ahead for Brazilian import, synth winner actually prefers dirt 15-1
Golden Mystery
J. Guerrero
K. Carmouche 97, 93, 88 Earned lofty speed figures at PRX and MTH, now gets tested for class 20-1
Shotgun Gulch
C. Trout
G. Gomez 80, 86, 84 Come-from-clouds longshot unlikely to get hot-pace setup required 20-1
Her Smile
T. Pletcher
J. Velazquez 77, 84, 96 Has one big race in her career, her other starts say this race too tough 30-1
Tamarind Hall
J. Englehart
D. Cohen 89, 79, 98 Popped sky-high speed figs in June and July, rounding back to best? 30-1
Tar Heel Mom
S. Hough
A. Solis 80, 80, 101 Tough to endorse following back-to-back 80 Beyers in New York 30-1
Champagne d'Oro
E. Guillot
C. Nakatani 87, 81, 82 Her form was better last year at age 3, shortens route to sprint 30-1