Tepin continued her winning ways when she prevailed by a half-length as a heavy favorite in last Saturday’s Grade I Woodbine Mile. It was her eighth straight victory overall. Not only that, it was her seventh consecutive win in a graded stakes race on the grass in North America. No other female Thoroughbred has achieved that feat.
Owned by Robert Masterson, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Tepin was favored at slightly less than 1-2, paying $2.90 for a $2 win wager. The 5-year-old Bernstein mare completed her one-mile journey in 1:34.13 on ground that was not firm. The turf course was listed as good.
Tepin now has gone more than a year without getting beat. The last time she lost was when she finished second, a head behind Dacita, in the Grade II Ballston Spa Stakes at Sararoga on Aug. 29, 2015. Since the Ballston Spa, she has reeled off eight straight victories on the grass, taking the:
--Grade I First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 3, 2015.
--Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 31, 2015.
--Grade III Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 13, 2016.
--Grade II Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 12, 2016.
--Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 16, 2016.
--Grade II Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile on May 7, 2016.
--Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 14, 2016.
--Grade I Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17, 2016.
Tepin demonstrated she is an extra special mare when she traveled to England and won the prestigious Queen Anne under less than ideal circumstances.
“Short of medication and her trademark nasal strip, as demanded by British regulations, Tepin was also asked to run down Ascot’s straight mile,” Julian Muscat wrote in his Queen Anne recap for Bloodhorse magazine. “It is impossible to quantify the effect of the latter novelty. Suffice to say that it disoriented Animal Kingdom three years ago, not to mention Able Friend, Hong Kong’s stellar miler, who sunk without trace 12 months ago.
“Not Tepin, though…Unlike the stream of U.S.-bred Royal Ascot runners before her, Tepin is more than that. She is the first U.S.-trained horse to win the Queen Anne, a race integral to the distribution of champion miler honors at year’s end. The scale of her triumph was epic.”
The great Wise Dan is the only Thoroughbred to win more graded stakes races on the grass in North America than Tepin. Wise Dan put together an incredible 14-race winning streak of this ilk.
Tied for third in this regard are Manila and Leroidesanimaux, who each managed to win six consecutive graded stakes races on the grass in North America.
Like Tepin, the Woodbine Mile was one of the races during Leroidesanimaux’s streak of graded stakes victories on the grass in North America. Leroidesanimaux won the Woodbine Mile by 7 3/4 lengths in 2005. His winning streak came to an end in his next start when he finished second to Artie Schiller in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile that same year at Belmont Park.
Tepin, to me, is sort of a female Wise Dan. Tepin has become a win machine on the turf, much like Wise Dan did a few years ago. In fact, winning the Woodbine Mile is something Tepin now has in common with Wise Dan.
Wise Dan won the Woodbine Mile in 2012 and 2013. He was voted six Eclipse Awards during those two years. Wise Dan earned Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year, champion older male and champion male turf horse in both 2012 and 2013.
Tepin was voted a 2015 Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse.
According to Casse, Tepin probably will make her next start at Keeneland on Oct. 8, either in the Grade I First Lady Stakes or Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile. Wise Dan won the Shadwell Turf Mile in 2012. Foremost on Tepin’s agenda is a start in the Grade I BC Mile at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 5, a race she won last year at Keeneland.
Tepin was assigned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Woodbine Mile. According to the American Racing Manual, these are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winners of the Woodbine Mile going back to the first running in 1997:
2016 Tepin (106)
2015 Mondialist (106)
2014 Trade Storm (102)
2013 Wise Dan (109)
2012 Wise Dan (110)
2011 Turallure (102)
2010 Court Vision (102)
2009 Ventura (108)
2008 Rahy’s Attorney (107)
2007 Shakespeare (107)
2006 Becrux (106)
2005 Leroidesanimaux (115)
2004 Soaring Free (103)
2003 Touch of the Blues (116)
2002 Good Journey (108)
2001 Numerous Times (108)
2000 Riviera (106)
1999 Quiet Resolve* (109)
1998 Labeeb (114)
1997 Geri (107)
*Hawksley Hill finished first but was disqualified and placed fourth
TEPIN REMAINS NO. 2 IN POLL
California Chrome, who is five for five this year, continues to unanimously hold the top spot in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Five for five this year, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit worked six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Los Alamitos last Saturday in preparation for his next start in the Grade I Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Oct. 1.
Tepin, who is six for six this year, again is No. 2 in the poll this week. California Chrome received all 40 first-place votes last week. He received 37 of the 38 first-place votes this week, with the lone other first-place vote going to Tepin.
Here is this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. California Chrome (38)
2. Tepin (1)
TWO CHAMPIONS RACE THIS SATURDAY AT PARX
Two horses in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll’s Top 10, Songbird and Nyquist, are entered in races this Saturday at Parx.
Undefeated Songbird puts her 10-race winning streak on the line against five opponents in the Grade I, $1 million Cotillion at 1 1/16 miles. She is the 1-2 morning-line favorite.
Songbird, who was voted a 2015 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly, rolls into the Cotillion off a seven-length win in Saratoga’s Grade I Alabama Stakes on Aug. 20 for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Once again the Medaglia d’Oro filly drew rave reviews from workout observers at Santa Anita when she recorded a :47 3/5 clocking without being asked at all in a four-furlong drill last Sunday.
Cathryn Sophia, who won the Grade I Kentucky Oaks last May 6, heads the opposition to Songbird in the Cotillion. Cathryn Sophia, the 5-2 second favorite on the Cotillion morning line, does have a recent race at Parx under her belt. She cruised to a 6 1/2-length triumph in the Princess of Sylmar at one mile there Sept. 3. She worked four furlongs in :48 flat at Parx last Wednesday.
Nyquist, winner of the year’s Grade I Kentucky Derby, and Exaggerator, victorious in this year’s Grade I Preakness Stakes, renew their rivalry in the Grade II, $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
In the Pennsylvania Derby, which has attracted a field of 12, Nyquist and Exaggerator will be facing each other for the seventh time. The score so far is Nyquist four, Exaggerator two. This is what has happened in their six encounters to date:
--In a five-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita last year on June 5, Nyquist defeated Exaggerator by 9 1/2 lengths.
--In the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last Oct. 31, Nyquist defeated Exaggerator by three lengths.
--In the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year on Feb. 15, Nyquist defeated Exaggerator by 1 1/2 lengths.
--In the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, Nyquist defeated Exaggerator by 1 1/4 lengths on a track officially rated fast, though it was wet from rain during the afternoon.
--In the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, Exaggerator defeated Nyquist by 3 1/2 lengths on a sloppy track.
--In the 1 1/8-mile Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 31, Exaggerator defeated Nyquist by 3 3/4 lengths on a sloppy track.
Nyquist, trained by Doug O’Neill, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the Pennsylvania Derby. The Uncle Mo colt was voted a 2015 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male and had an 8-0 record after winning this year’s Kentucky Derby. But he is 0 for 2 since the Run for the Roses. Nyquist finished third in the Preakness and fourth in the Haskell, with the track sloppy on both occasions.
Exaggerator, conditioned by Keith Desormeaux, is the 9-2 second favorite on the Pennsylvania Derby morning line. The Curlin colt is 3 for 3 this year when racing on a wet track, with all three victories coming in Grade I races (Santa Anita Derby, Preakness and Haskell). He is 0 for 5 this year when competing on a fast track. The last two times Exaggerator has raced on dry land, he finished eleventh in the Grade I Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park and again eleventh in the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
Another Pennsylvania Derby contender is Cupid from the powerful Bob Baffert barn. The Tapit colt has won this year’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Grade II Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand and Grade II West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.
Baffert also trains Arrogate, who at No. 6 currently is the top-ranked 3-year-old male in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Arrogate, who broke Saratoga’s track record for 1 1/4 miles when he won the Travers by 13 1/2 lengths on Aug. 27, is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade I, $6 million BC Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. The Unbridled’s Song colt worked four furlongs in a splendid :46 3/5 at Santa Anita last Saturday, the fastest of 74 workouts at the distance.