08/24/2012 6:40PM

Saratoga: Turbulent Descent captures the Ballerina, her fourth Grade 1

Barbara D. Livingston
Turbulent Descent wins the Ballerina under John Velazquez, earning a fee-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Without a formidable foe like It’s Tricky to tangle with, Turbulent Descent danced to victory in Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga.

Making her first start since being purchased privately by Coolmore Stud and turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher, Turbulent Descent made the lead turning for home under John Velazquez then held Derwin's Star at bay through the lane to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Derwin's Star finished second by three-quarters of a length over the pace-setting All Due Respect. Belle of the Hall, Nicole H, and Island Bound completed the order of finish.

It's Tricky, as expected, scratched out of the Ballerina to run in Sunday's Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap.

Turbulent Descent won for the eighth time from 12 career starts. The $300,000 first-place prize pushed her career earnings to $1,201,640. It was Turbulent Descent's fourth career Grade 1 victory. She also won the Test here last year, making her the eighth filly to win both of those Grade 1 events.

"You’re talking about a filly that's a Grade 1 winner at 2, 3, and 4 - that's pretty rare," said Pletcher, who won this race last year with Hilda's Passion. "Those are the kind of mares you'd love to have in your broodmare band when their racing career is over."

Her career is not quite over. Turbulent Descent will now likely be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The Ballerina was a "Win and You're In" race, giving Turbulent Descent an entry-fees-paid berth into the Filly and Mare Sprint.

"If I had to decide today, I'd probably say we'd wait, but we'll see," Pletcher said when asked if she would run again before the Breeders' Cup.

Without It's Tricky, Turbulent Descent was sent off the 2-5 favorite in the Ballerina. There were few anxious moments for her backers.

Breaking from post 5, Turbulent Descent was three-wide outside of Island Bound, and Nicole H as All Due Respect, under Joel Rosario, set fractions of 23.02 seconds for the quarter-mile and :45.33 for the half-mile.

Approaching the three-furlong pole, Turbulent Descent and Nicole H bumped, which prompted Turbulent Descent to grab the bridle and make a run to the leaders, according to Velazquez.

Turbulent Descent made the lead straightening away in the lane, and she responded to one crack of Velazquez's left-handed whip and two slaps on her left shoulder to get the victory. Turbulent Descent, a 4-year-old daughter of Congrats, is owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith. She covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.13 and returned $2.90 to win.

"When she got the lead, now she's waiting," Velazquez said. "Now I got to keep her mind on running, but she did it well."