Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Acorn Stakes: Smooth Ascent

Posted by Brian Appleton on June 9, 2011

Sometimes a horse’s name can play funny tricks on coincidence. In 2010 Blind Luck and Lookin At Lucky had more than their fair share of “luck” during the racing season, and both ironically ended the year with a slew of graded stakes wins and the championship titles for their division. Indian Blessing continually proved herself the ultimate blessing to her connections during her career by becoming one of the most respected female sprinters in the country throughout 2007-09. But sometimes there is one horse that absolutely refuses to live up to the reality of their name and Turbulent Descent fits that category like a voice to music. She defies the meaning of her name in every sense of the two words. If you were to take her name and use the antonym’s for her title you’d be much closer to describing the career of this gifted filly; smooth ascent. Not only has Turbulent Descent encountered very few bumps in her road, she overcame the only one that ever gave her trouble when she turned the tables on Zazu in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1) after finishing second to that filly in her 2011 debut. The only way you can use her name properly in the Acorn is to say that she will be descending to the lower level of her opposition entering the same gate with them.

In the 81st running of the Acorn Stakes Turbulent Descent will be an overwhelming favorite to continue her dominance over sophomore fillies around one turn. A short but solid field of six fillies is entered to contest the prestigious Grade 1 $300,000 event. Her Smile will break from post number one for trainer Todd Pletcher and is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay. She enters off an 11th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (gr.1) on May 6th, finishing ahead of only two fillies. Before the Oaks she finished 2 ¼ lengths behind Hot Summer in the one mile Comely Stakes (gr.3) at Aqueduct. Her most recent work, a :49.07 half mile breeze, was solid enough but nothing spectacular. She does appear to be better at the mile distance than when she is stretched out so expect her to improve off the Oaks fiasco and be sitting right behind the pacesetters into the first turn.

Turbulent Descent in many ways exemplifies the perfect mix of talent, heart and pedigree. Undefeated in three starts last year, including the Moccasin Stakes and Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, Turbulent Descent was given just two months off before making her sophomore debut in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr.1), finishing 1 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Zazu with future Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty another 4 ¼ lengths back in third. Stretched out to the 1 1/16 miles distance for the first time in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1), Turbulent Descent proved game in holding off a fast closing Zazu to win by a neck. Trainer Mike Puype announced she would stick to one turn races for the rest of the year, skipping the Kentucky Oaks, after her hard fought victory. Next up she captured the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes by an effortless 5 lengths in her final Acorn prep. Five works have been published for the Congrats filly since taking the Beaumont including two bullet works at five and six furlongs with her most recent move a strong :47.60 half mile breeze. She looks as unbeatable as they come right now and will break from post number two. [Read the complete post here on Distaff Runner at HRN]

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