Updated on 02/01/2011 1:33PM

Turbulent Descent sharpens for Las Virgenes


ARCADIA, Calif. – Turbulent Descent was described by trainer Mike Puype as “totally ready” for her 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita after her final prerace workout at Hollywood Park on Sunday.

The unbeaten winner of three starts last year, the most recent of which was the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes on Dec. 11, Turbulent Descent will be heavily favored in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, which is run over a mile.

Sunday at Hollywood Park, Turbulent Descent breezed five furlongs in 59.20 seconds under jockey David Flores, the fastest of 31 recorded works at the distance. Flores, who rode Turbulent Descent in all three of her starts last year, described the effort as “great.”

“We’re ready for Saturday,” he said.

Turbulent Descent “did it effortlessly”, trainer Mike Puype said. “We’re totally ready. I thought she was breezing.”

After the workout, Puype shipped Turbulent Descent to Santa Anita, where she will be based for the rest of the week. Turbulent Descent had been based at Hollywood Park since arriving in Southern California last year.

Turbulent Descent walked at Puype’s stable on Monday and was scheduled to jog on Tuesday before starting more extensive exercise in the build-up to Saturday’s race.

“On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday she’ll gallop,” Puype said.

The Grade 1 Las Virgenes is one of four stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday and Sunday. The Las Virgenes field is expected to include Bluegrass Chatter, California Nectar, May Day Rose, and Plum Pretty.

Saturday’s card also features the $200,000 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds. Twirling Candy, the winner of the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes over seven furlongs on Dec. 26, will be favored in the Strub. He worked seven furlongs in 1:25 at Santa Anita on Sunday. Twirling Candy will face Do It All, Honour the Deputy, Oilisblackgold, Tweebster, and possibly Indian Firewater, the winner of the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 15.

The $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap over a mile on turf will be run Saturday. Dakota Phone, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November, is expected to start, and will attempt to end a two-race losing streak. Dakota Phone worked five furlongs on turf in 1:05.20 on Sunday. The field will also include Victor’s Cry, the winner of the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in November.

One horse missing from that race is Sidney’s Candy, the winner of the Grade 3 Sir Beaufort Stakes here on Dec. 26. Plagued by a foot problem in mid-January that kept him from a start in the San Fernando, Sidney’s Candy worked a half-mile on turf in 48 seconds on Sunday. He will be pointed for the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 5, trainer John Sadler said.

Sunday’s main race is the $150,000 San Antonio Stakes for older horses over 1 1/8 miles. The candidates include Aggie Engineer, Big Shot Syd, Gladding, Pode Ir, and Spurrier.