10/19/2011 2:55PM

Breeders' Cup: Turbulent Descent looking like clear standout

Barbara D. Livingston
Turbulent Descent, with David Flores riding, wins the Test last time out.

A lot can go wrong in three months – especially in racing. Mike Puype considers himself very fortunate that not only has Turbulent Descent flourished in her training toward the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint since she won her last start, the Aug. 6 Test at Saratoga, but also that the competition for his star 3-year-old filly in this upcoming seven-furlong race could have been considerably stronger than what appears to be materializing.

“From what I can tell, she could wind up as one of the biggest favorites on either Breeders’ Cup day, maybe in the even-money to 8-5 range,” Puype said Wednesday morning from Hollywood Park in California, where Turbulent Descent, with regular rider David Flores aboard as usual, drilled six furlongs in 1:11.40 in her sixth work since her 3 3/4-length triumph in the Grade 1 Test. “I couldn’t be happier with her right now.”

With 6 wins and 2 seconds from 8 career starts for Puype and the Blinkers On Racing Stable partnership, Turbulent Descent, by the hot young sire Congrats, has been especially effective in sprints, winning all four of of those races with devastating ease. “She’s a seven-furlong horse, and people are aware of that,” said Puype. “Maybe that’s why they’re less inclined to try her.”

While Pomeroys Pistol and Switch appear to be the top threats, a number of other would-be contenders have dropped from consideration for the F-M Sprint for various reasons, including Hilda’s Passion, who was injured in winning the Ballerina; Sassy Image, declared from consideration this week because of a hind ankle injury; turn-back candidates such as Plum Pretty, It’s Tricky, and Ultra Blend, all of whom have the $2 million BC Ladies’ Classic as a preferred option; and 3-year-old fillies such as Strike the Moon, Groupie Doll, and Hot Summer, who will run instead this Saturday at Keeneland in the Raven Run.

Puype said the Wednesday work for Turbulent Descent “will be her last hard one” and that he will give her “an easy blowout a day or two before” she gets on a plane for Kentucky on Oct. 30.

Meanwhile, Switch had her first workout since finishing third as an odds-on favorite in the Oct. 8 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland when going a half-mile in 47.40 seconds Tuesday over the Keeneland Poly. Switch, the 2010 runner-up in the F-M Sprint behind Dubai Majesty, was vanned to Churchill Downs the following day.

From Monmouth Park, owner-trainer Amy Tarrant reported that her star 3-year-old, Pomeroys Pistol, came out of an easy five-furlong breeze Monday at Monmouth in good fashion. The work was the first for Pomeroys Pistol since she defeated older mares in the Sept. 24 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park.

“She had a hard race in New York,” said Tarrant. “She’ll have one more little breeze before we put her on a van to Churchill early on the morning of Oct. 31. She’s coming along nicely, and we’re very excited because we think we have a good chance.”

From Canada, Bill Thompson, who has Ariana D as the star of his Maple Leaf Farm LLC, said he is leaning toward not shipping the synthetics specialist to try the Churchill dirt but that he has not ruled out the possibility. Pre-entries for all Breeders’ Cup races are due Monday.

“My inclination is not to throw her to the wolves,” said Thompson.

Ariana D, an earner of nearly $570,000 and an easy winner of the Avowal at Woodbine last out, would run under the name of trainer Merrill Scherer at Churchill, added Thompson.