In her final serious move in advance of Saturday’s Grade I Woodbine Mile, champion turf female Tepin threw down the gauntlet to her challengers when she covered four furlongs in :49.71 over the turf training course at Saratoga on Monday.
Tepin covered the final quarter in :23 with a gallop out in 1:02, per assistant trainer Norman Casse. It was the latest impressive morning outing for the reigning Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine as she prepares to make her first start since becoming the first American-based horse to win the Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14.
While her connections had been working the 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein in company in recent weeks in an effort to sharpen her up off the mini-layoff, the fact she zipped through Monday’s move the way she did while working solo signals to trainer Mark Casse she is at the ready for another tangle against male rivals.
“They said she flew home,” Mark Casse said from the Keeneland sales grounds after getting word from his son on Tepin’s move. “We know that this is a little different scenario for her in that she is coming off a fairly significant layoff. So, we knew we had to crank her up a little bit and the only way to crank her up is give her some competition. She may be even a little more cranked up because today she worked by herself and she was on her game.”
Tepin is expected to ship Wednesday to Woodbine where she will attempt to give Casse - who was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame this year - his first career victory in the Woodbine Mile. Should all go well coming out of the $1 million test, Casse has left the door open to either run Robert Masterson’s mare back during the Keeneland Fall meet or train her straight up to her attempted title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on November 5.
“The other thing (with getting her cranked up) is we didn’t want her to go in give us her best effort (at Woodbine) and get a little tired and be exhausted afterwards,” Casse said. “Obviously we want to win the Mile but we have other plans down the road as well. If she were to run well, she’ll either come here (to Keeneland) or go straight to the Breeders’ Cup.”
Bred by Machmer Hall, Tepin brings a seven-race win streak into the Woodbine Mile including her victory in the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland this April. The bay mare has won 12 of 20 career starts with $3,563,838 in earnings.