|TURBO COMPRESSOR (Coady Photography)|
The Todd Pletcher trainee was sent off as the 5-2 betting favorite in an eleven horse field. The fopur-year-old Halo’s Image ridgling thrived over Colonial’s Secretariat turf course in the stake’s first night running--- post time of the race was 8:45 PM and it was contested under the lights.
Jockey Joe Bravo directed Turbo Compressor from post six in the 1 3/16ths miles race. He maintained a one length lead over Humble and Hungry until midway through the final turn when Air Support and Rahystrada, the mid-pack hopefuls, made their moves on the frontrunner.
Both had strong stretch drives but fell short by 1 ¼ lengths and had to battle for runner-up honors. 2011 Virginia Derby winner Air Support took second and 2011 Colonial Turf champion Rahystrada finished third, a head farther behind.
Turbo Compressor cut respective panels of :24.34, :49.78, 1:14.35 and 1:37.64 before crossing in 1:55.15. The track record of 1:52.98 is held by Showing Up in the 2006 Turf Cup. The winner is owned by the P and G Stable and Off The Hook, LLC.
“We knew if he (Turbo Compressor) got to the lead, we had a great chance to win the race,” said co-owner Nerina Morales who along with her husband Hernando Gutierrez, have owned the horse for two years. “He loved the grass course but we were concerned about racing at night. We didn’t know how dark it was going to be,“ said the Venezuelan native, “But it turned out to be great. He’s our baby.”
After ten dirt starts, Turbo Compressor switched over to turf in a Gulfstream allowance in March and won by 5 1/2 lengths. After finishing eighth in the Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill May 5th, he made it two of three on grass in Saturday’s Turf Cup. Asked why he faultered at Churchill, Morales replied “He never had the lead; he likes to be in front the whole way around.”
A trio of under card stakes preceded the Turf Cup. Snow Top Mountain scored a tight neck victory over Clear Skies Ahead in the Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes Gr. 3. The Tom Proctor-trainee was ridden smartly by Paco Lopez who earned her sixth career turf win.
Jockey Horacio Karamanos guided Action Andy to a one-half length win in the $50,000 Da Hoss Stakes after a thrilling stretch battle with Edgar Prado’s Sleepless Knight. The five-year-old Gators N Bears gelding has finished first or second six times in seven Colonial starts. “He likes to run anywhere and on any surface,” said trainer Carlos Garcia.
Jockey Malcolm Franklin had reason to smile in his last weekend in Virginia before moving on to ride at Churchill Downs next week. He guided Averil’s Ring to a neck triumph at 16-1 in the $30,000 Old Nelson Starter Handicap over Le Deluge. The resulting ten cent superfecta payout for the 3-7-4-1 combination was over $6,060.09.
The All Stakes-All Turf Pick-4, which covered races four thru seven, paid $18,977.60 for a $1 return.