Turbulent Descent

The overall trajectory of her career was the opposite of what one might think of when hearing her name. Originally campaigned by Blinkers On Racing Stable and several other owners, she started with a win, and for the most part added trophy after trophy to her collection while proving to be a tough filly on track.

Debuting for trainer Mike Puype and bred by Florida's Ocala Stud, this daughter of Congrats established herself as a force to be reckoned with early on. She went three-for-three at Hollywood Park in the 2010 season, with her biggest victory coming in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet. For her efforts, she earned a spot as a finalist for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly at the Eclipse Awards.

That success rolled over as a sophomore, for Turbulent Descent joined the upper echelon of the three-year-old filly division by coming in first or second in her next five starts, all graded stakes. She took a trio of events in that stretch, counting the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, Keeneland's Grade II Beaumont Stakes, and Saratoga's Grade I Test Stakes among her triumphs.

A fan of tracking the pacesetter, Turbulent Descent liked to make her move near the top of the stretch, turning for home and moving away from her rivals powerfully. Teaming with David Flores, who would ride her for the bulk of her career, Turbulent Descent showed immense talent as she sprinted, routed, and defeated graded stakes company across North America.

Her 2011 season concluded with some unlucky races in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and La Brea Stakes. The bay mare had a troubled start in the former and dealt with wide trips in both starts which ended her streak of top two finishes, but she was back in the winners' circle the following summer when she returned to Hollywood Park to take the Desert Stormer Handicap. Not only was it her first start off a layoff, it turned out to be the close of a chapter in her career.

After the Desert Stormer, Turbulent Descent had new owners in Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor. Moving from Puype's barn to the stable of Eastern-based trainer Todd Pletcher, she said goodbye to California and headed to New York, capturing the Grade I Ballerina at Saratoga. Racegoers at the Spa saw Turbulent Descent put on her trademark move at the top of the stretch, taking new rider John Velasquez to the victory. Obviously, it was the ideal result for her first start under Pletcher, but the Ballerina turned out to be the last bright moment for Turbulent Descent as a four-year-old. Her next two starts were a fourth in the Grade II Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont and a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in her return to Southern California.

After putting together a record of eight wins and two seconds in fourteen starts, Turbulent Descent was retired after the Filly & Mare Sprint and moved to Ashford Stud in Kentucky to become a broodmare. There has been some early success in that occupation, for she has gone on to be the dam of the Galileo-sired Spanish Steps, winner of the Group III Ballyroan Stakes in Europe in 2017.

A Grade I winner at the ages of two, three and four, Turbulent Descent left the races a nuanced horse. She stood in the winners' circle at some of the country's premier tracks, and she had no problem defeating rivals going short or long. The respect she earned from racing fans was evident in the wagering. Outside of her career finale, Turbulent Descent went off favored in every other start. And more often than not, she proved her backers right.

Looking back on her career, Turbulent Descent can be called one of the most talented fillies of the 2010s.


moved to Ashford Stud: Bloodhorse Staff. "Grade I Winner Turbulent Descent Retired." Bloodhorse, December 18, 2012. https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/124216/grade-i-winner-turbulent-descent-retired

Entry added December 5, 2020 by AF.