Trio of Grade 1 winners line up in Desert Stormer
Three-time Grade 1 heroine Turbulent Descent will make her first start of 2012 in the $70,000 Desert Stormer Handicap Sunday at Hollywood Park. Named in honor of the 1995 Breeders' Cup Sprint queen, the Desert Stormer is for older fillies and mares and will be run at six furlongs over the Cushion Track.
Trained by Mike Puype, Turbulent Descent has been away from the races since finishing sixth as the 1-2 favorite in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes on New Year's Eve. The four-year-old daughter of Congrats entered that contest off a fifth-placing as the 7-5 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Turbulent Descent brings a perfect three-for-three mark over the track, including a victory in the 2010 Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, into the Desert Stormer. The Starlet was the first of her Grade 1 victories, which also includes a neck score in the Santa Anita Oaks and culminated in her last visit to the winner's circle in the August 6 Test at Saratoga.
Jockey David Flores has been aboard Turbulent Descent in all 10 of her lifetime starts and will be back aboard Sunday.
The Desert Stormer cast includes two other Grade 1 winners -- Switch and Teddy's Promise.
Trained by John Sadler, who won the 2009 Desert Stormer with Coco Belle, Switch earned her biggest victories consecutively, taking the La Brea on December 26, 2010, and the Santa Monica on January 30, 2011. The five-year-old Quiet American daughter is looking for her first win since that latter event, though she has placed in six of her seven starts since, including a second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Her only off-the-board effort in that time frame came while making her seasonal bow in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff last out on May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Switch has two wins and three seconds in five starts over Hollywood's Cushion Track and will have Mike Smith in the saddle.
Teddy's Promise has won four of her last five races, topped by a 16-1 upset in the La Brea on New Year's Eve. The Ron Ellis pupil's one loss came when she was fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Monica on January 28, but she returned from a three-month layoff to take the Time to Leave Stakes over the track on May 6. The four-year-old Salt Lake filly is currently four-for-six over the Cushion Track and retains the services of jockey Victor Espinoza.
Among those lining up against the Grade 1-winning trio is Izzy Rules, who will try to rebound off back-to-back fifth-place finishes. The latest in those came in the Time to Leave and the Jeff Bonde trainee also ran fifth, just two lengths back of the winner, against the boys in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Handicap on April 14.
The Peace Rules five-year-old rattled off four consecutive wins by a combined 21 1/4 lengths before her recent slide, culminating in the Grade 3 Las Flores Stakes on March 11 at Santa Anita.
Great Hot, winner of the Grade 2 Raven Run last October 22 at Keeneland, will be making her first appearance over Hollywood's Cushion Track. The Brazilian-bred daughter of Orientate hasn't been able to find the winner's circle since but just missed third in the Las Flores last out. Mildly Offensive, who rounds out the Desert Stormer field, will be looking for her second win in three 2012 starts. The four-year-old Sharp Humor filly ran fourth last out in the Humana Distaff and filled that same spot in her only previous start over Cushion Track in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap last July 16.
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