08/04/2011 2:46PM

Saratoga: No excuses for Turbulent Descent in Test Stakes

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Emily Shields
Turbulent Descent, with jockey David Flores up, finishes second in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Though the race was run at a longer distance than perhaps his filly prefers and conducted over a sloppy track, trainer Mike Puype offered no excuses when Turbulent Descent was beaten as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park on June 11. Instead, he praised the winner and was ready to move on to the next objective.

That objective is Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Test Stakes at Saratoga, where Puype is hoping the cutback to seven furlongs and the likelihood of a fast racetrack won’t have him searching for excuses or saluting anybody else’s horse.

“I think we’re going our best distance with no apparent excuses,” Puype said this week from Southern California. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Saratoga. I’m definitely looking forward to this race in a big way.”

Turbulent Descent is 2 for 2 at seven furlongs, including a five-length victory in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland in April. In her next start, the Acorn, Turbulent Descent appeared to be sitting a good trip, but was no match for Its Tricky, who splashed her way to a 2 3/4-length victory. Turbulent Descent finished second, 10 lengths clear of third-place finisher Her Smile.

Its Tricky came back to win the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks here, and Her Smile came back to take the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont. In the Grade 1 Las Virgenes in February, Turbulent Descent finished second to Zazu and ahead of Plum Pretty. Zazu has since won the Hollywood Oaks, and Plum Pretty the Kentucky Oaks.

“Her company lines have been incredible,” Puype said.

Turbulent Descent, who will be ridden from post 5 by David Flores, figures to be stalking a pace that should include Roman Treasure and Savvy Supreme. Roman Treasure was part of a crazy pace in the Prioress that set things up for Her Smile to rally from last and win. Her Smile, trained by Todd Pletcher, is back in the Test.

Pomeroys Pistol finished second, beaten a half-length, in the Prioress, but had a tougher trip than Her Smile.

“We didn’t have the racing luck,” trainer Amy Tarrant said. “We were wide and that other horse came up the rail, otherwise it might have been closer than it was. I think she belongs in this company.”

Tarrant said how Pomeroys Pistol acts in the paddock could be key to her success. In her only bad start, a sixth-place finish in the Eight Belles at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day, Pomeroys Pistol washed out in the paddock, Tarrant said.

Salty Strike won the Grade 3 Dogwood going a one-turn mile at Churchill on June 4, but didn’t handle the 1 1/16 miles of the Grade 1 Mother Goose when she finished fourth. Salty Strike had the rail that day and was basically forced to be on the lead. Saturday, she breaks from the outside post.

“That was probably a little ambitious, and this may be ambitious, but I never hit a pitch I didn’t swing at,” trainer Ken McPeek said.

Ava K and Coax Liberty both won overnight stakes at Belmont going seven furlongs. American Lady makes her stakes debut after going 2 for 3 for trainer Bob Baffert.