SATURDAY’S Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap (1300m) at Belmont Park looks likely to come down to shoot-out between Congrats pair Turbulent Descent and the Allen Jerkins trained Emma’s Encore.
Four times Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent has been posted the 9/5 favourite to win the New York feature having taken out the Ballerina Stakes – G1 at Saratoga at her last outing – her first for new owners Coolmore.
The first crop daughter of Vinery Stud star sire Congrats was tipped to go straight into the Breeders’ Cup Fillies & Mares Sprint at Santa Anita after her Saratoga triumph but is a confirmed starter this weekend.
“We felt like she came out of the Ballerina well and we still have six weekends from now until the Breeders’ Cup,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said.
“I think she may need another race to be really spot-on for the Breeders’ Cup. She is in good form and doing well. It was nice winning the Ballerina with her and it’s pretty rare seeing a horse who can win Grade 1’s at two, three and four.
“It’s a special accomplishment.”
While Turbulent Descent’s place in the Breeders’ Cup is assured, up and coming mare Emma’s Encore is out to book her spot with a win tomorrow.
The Gallant Bloom Handicap is part of the innovative `Win and You’re In’ series whereby the winner of these specially selected races earns automatic qualification for November’s equine version of the Olympic games.
Emma’s Encore has won 4 of 7 starts in 2012 including the Grade 1 Saratoga Prioress Stakes (1200m) at her last start.