Miss Temple City finally faces ‘good friend’ Tepin in BC Mile
by Jennie Rees
Miss Temple City will finally meet her pal Tepin on the race course in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on grass.
Trainer Graham Motion twice opted to avoid Tepin, the reigning Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and female turf champ, by running against males at Keeneland. The result was a pair of Grade 1 victories in the Maker’s 46 Mile in the spring and most recently the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile. Tepin ran at Keeneland the same days in Grade 1 races for fillies and mares, taking the Jenny Wiley and having her eight-race win streak snapped with a second to front-running Photo Call in the First Lady.
"She's the best filly I've ever trained. I never had a filly that could beat the boys,” Maryland-based Graham Motion said of Miss Temple City. “I never would have even considered it. I guess I have to thank Tepin for that. I never had a filly that I would have even considered running against the boys.
"We have to face the music, and I think this is the right time to do it. It goes beyond Tepin. It's a very deep race, but she's still the horse to beat. I have the utmost respect for Tepin. She's got one chink in her armor, and that was last time out. She probably got caught up in what was an awkward pace scenario, an awkward pace. Even the best can get caught up in that.”
Tepin and Miss Temple City bonded when both ran at Royal Ascot, the famed race meet in Motion’s native Britain. Tepin beat males for a historic triumph in the Group 1 Queen Anne, while Miss Temple City was fourth against fillies and mares in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge.
“Miss Temple City made Tepin’s experience a lot easier going over to Ascot,” said Norman Casse, who oversees the training operation at Churchill Downs, Saratoga and Florida’s Palm Meadows training facility for his dad, Mark Casse. (Tepin doesn’t go anywhere Norman Casse isn’t.) “They rode the plane together. Tepin is usually a loner, as far as horses go, though she likes the stable pony. When Miss Temple City would go out to the round pen or to the paddock for the day, Tepin would holler at her. She’d holler at her when she came back. They’d look at each other, became really good friends because of the flight and traveling together.
“And Miss Temple City likes her, too. They wouldn’t actually gallop together. But they’d train in the same set and we’d follow Miss Temple City. She kind of showed us the ropes in England. Tepin really liked her, and we appreciated the help from Graham and his team. We wouldn’t have known what to do over there at all. We went over there with another outfit that we really love and respect, and they helped us do something nobody has done before.”
Photo Call also is in the Mile against males, with trainer Todd Pletcher likewise opting for the shorter distance than the 1 1/4-mile Filly & Mare Turf. The BC Mile includes five horses out of the Shadwell, including runner-up Ironicus (beaten a head) and third-place Tourist (who lost by a half-length).
Miss Temple City photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com
Tepin photo courtesy of Rickelle Nelson/Horsephotos.com
Jennie Rees is a racing communications specialist from Louisville. Her Breeders’ Cup coverage, which concentrates on the Kentucky horses, is provided free to media as a service by Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park, the Kentucky HBPA and JockeyTalk360.com.