Reigning champion turf female Tepin put in her first timed workout since winning the Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, going an easy four furlongs in 50.42 over the Oklahoma turf course at Saratoga on Friday.
With regular rider Julien Leparoux in the irons, Tepin galloped out five-eighths in 1:04 as she prepares for an expected start against males in the Grade I Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga on August 13. Trainer Mark Casse said last week the one-mile Fourstardave would be his preference for the 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein as it would give his champion charge five weeks to then prepare for the Grade I Woodbine Mile on September 17.
A winner of seven straight races dating back to last October, Tepin is ultimately being pointed towards a title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be held at Santa Anita Park this year on November 5.
The reigning queen of the turf is not the only female grass star the Casse barn is trying to manage. Stablemate Catch a Glimpse, the reigning Canadian Horse of the Year, mostly recently won the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational and is now being pointed to the Grade II, $300,000 Lake Placid at Saratoga on August 21.
“The plan is to run Tepin in the Fourstardave and Catch a Glimpse in the Lake Placid,” Casse told the New York Racing Association notes team. “I was kind of struggling with how we were going to get Tepin to the Woodbine Mile.”
“The only thing that would keep me from running Catch a Glimpse here is how she handles the crowd. This is a very unique place because the crowd gets so close to you, and some horses can’t handle it. She’s not like Tepin - Tepin doesn’t care about anything.”
Moments after Tepin worked, Grade I United Nations winner World Approval turned in a brisk half-mile workout under Florent Geroux, going in 48.72 seconds in preparation for a possible start in the Grade I Arlington Million on August 13.
“He’ll run in the Arlington Million if all goes well, but if we decide to miss that race he could go in the Sword Dancer,” Casse said. “His new strategy, staying close to the pace, has made him more effective; he has a quick turn of speed.”
Over on the main track, Grade I winner Noble Bird breezed four furlongs in a sharp 47.66 seconds, the second-fastest of 47 works at the distance behind the Casse-trained Diva Express, who went in 47.31. The move had Casse thinking big with the 5-year-old horse, who was scratched from the Suburban on July 9.
“That was as good as I’ve ever seen Noble Bird work this morning,” noted Casse. “He went 47, and looking at him, I thought he went in 50, so he may have earned himself a ticket to the Whitney. We’ll see how he comes out of it. He just wasn’t himself the morning of the Suburban.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Stradivari, fourth in the Preakness Stakes, suffered a lateral condylar fracture of his right front ankle while training Friday morning on Saratoga’s main track and is being evaluated at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga for possible surgery. Pletcher said the sesamoid bones are intact.
Stradivari, who finished fifth in the Belmont Stakes last out, was injured near the mile pole while breezing with Belmont-runner up and stablemate Destin. Pletcher said they breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.87 before the injury.
“He took a funny step and (exercise rider) Patti (Krotenko) pulled him up quickly,” Pletcher said. “We’re just waiting to get a couple of opinions on the X-rays and hopefully do surgery.”
Destin came out of the breeze in good order and is being pointed toward the Grade II, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 30. The Giant’s Causeway colt is looking for his first victory since posting wins in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and the Grade III Sam F. Davis.
Mohaymen works towards Jim Dandy; Frosted on track for Whitney
Unraced since his fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby , Shadwell Stable’s multiple Grade II winner Mohaymen breezed four furlongs Friday morning in anticipation of his next start in the Grade II Jim Dandy.
Under exercise rider Rob Massey, the sophomore son of Tapit worked in 47.60 seconds over the synthetic surface at the private Greentree Training Facility behind Saratoga’s main track.
It was the fifth work in Saratoga for Mohaymen, who had breezed over the main track each of the past two weeks, including a five-furlong move in 1:00.79 July 15.
“He worked great,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He’s worked on both but we decided to go back here because it’s quieter and there’s no one out there. He’s worked well there before so we decided to work there. He’s fit and doing great and ready to go.”
Mohaymen suffered his first career loss when fourth behind champion and eventual Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in the Grade I Florida Derby on April 2. After the Kentucky Derby, Mohaymen was sent to the farm for a checkup and brief freshening before rejoining McLaughlin’s stable.
“He’s pretty much stayed the same. He’s a light-framed horse but he’s a May foal so the chances are he’ll continue to mature and fill out over time,” McLaughlin said. “He hasn’t missed a beat. I’m not worried about the time (between races). He went home for three weeks and that was it. He’s doing great.”
The 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy is Saratoga’s traditional prep for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 27.
“We’re pointing for the Jim Dandy,” McLaughlin said. “We’ll stay here and get a prep race here and not have to ship down in the heat and everything else.”
Also among several McLaughlin horses to work at Greentree was Godolphin Racing’s Frosted, clocked in 1:00.60 for five furlongs. It was the third breeze since his record-setting 14 ¼-length romp in the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 11.
Another son of Tapit, 4-year-old Frosted is being pointed to the Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney on August 6.
“Frosted worked well and will work one more time for the Whitney. He’s doing fabulous,” McLaughlin said. “As a racing fan, (the Met Mile) was unbelievable. Not only to be the trainer but as a racing fan you don’t see races like that very often. He might not duplicate that number or that race again, but we don’t think he has to to win the next one or two. If he does, great, but we don’t think he has to. We just hope he runs a similar race. I doubt that he can do that again ever in his life.”