Horses

Champion Tepin to prep for Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, but which race?

Champion Tepin, seen here winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at the 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, worked four furlongs at Saratoga on Friday in preparation for her expected start opening weekend of the Keeneland Fall Meet.
Champion Tepin, seen here winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at the 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, worked four furlongs at Saratoga on Friday in preparation for her expected start opening weekend of the Keeneland Fall Meet. Herald-Leader

Reigning champion turf female Tepin signaled her readiness for an expected start during the opening weekend of the Keeneland Fall Meet when she drilled 4 furlongs in 49 seconds flat over the Saratoga turf course Friday, her first move since defeating males in the Grade I Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17.

With assistant trainer Norman Casse looking on, Tepin galloped out in 1:02 1/5 with a last quarter clocked in :23 1/5 . While her connections expected the 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein to show some fatigue in the aftermath of her first race off a three-month layoff, Casse has been emboldened by the energy the bay mare continues to flaunt.

“I really think she came out of the Woodbine race very well, she’s trained forwardly, she’s doing as good as we’d hoped,” said Casse, top assistant to his father, trainer Mark Casse. “I’ve been watching her pretty closely coming back. I thought maybe she would be tired after the race, after shipping back to Saratoga. But she’s actually been full of energy ever since. All signs are good right now.”

Tepin’s half-length win in the Woodbine Mile marked her eighth consecutive victory and first start since becoming the first U.S.-based horse to capture the Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14. With her fitness coming back around to peak form, a decision on whether to start her in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile against males or keep her against her own gender in the Grade I First Lady Stakes, both at Keeneland on Oct. 8, is expected to come Sunday.

“We’re going to watch the weekend, we’ve got our eye on a couple things, so we’re going to watch that and make a decision Sunday,” Mark Casse said.

Tepin is slated to leave Saratoga around 3 p.m. Saturday to ship back to Churchill Downs.

The Shadwell or First Lady will serve as Tepin’s final prep before heading to Santa Anita Park for an expected start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 5, a race she captured last year en route to earning her divisional Eclipse Award.

Owned by Robert Masterson and bred by Machmer Hall, Tepin has won 13 of 21 career starts, including six Grade I victories, with $4,017,918 in earnings.

Alicia Wincze Hughes: 859-231-1676, @horseracinghl

Keeneland Fall Meet

When: Oct. 7-29

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