Queen of the Turf Tepin takes royal tour to Canada for Mile

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 14th, 2016

Tepin, the reigning queen of the American turf, heads north of the border for the first time Saturday to kick start her fall campaign in the C$1 million Woodbine Mile (G1).

Last seen venturing to England and walking away with the spoils after the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot in June, the Bernstein mare seeks her eighth consecutive win, and 11th in her last 13 starts, against seven male rivals in the one-turn test.

Under Julien Leparoux, Tepin will break from post 8. The Woodbine Mile is a prelude to her title defense of the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in November.

"She's ready to run her race and I think she's going to be tough to beat," assistant trainer Norman Casse said earlier this week. "When she brings her 'A' game, she's always tough to beat. We want this one and then we're looking forward to the Breeders' Cup after that."

Three challengers from Europe are among her seven rivals. Arguably the most serious threat will come from Mutakayyef, who landed the Summer Mile (G2) at Ascot in July and last out was a credible third behind Europe's leading older horse, Postponed, in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York despite being carried out by the winner in the stretch.

Fellow continental Arod won the Summer Mile last season, but has struggled at times since his return from Australia last fall. He was most recently third in the Celebration Mile (G2) at Goodwood. Meanwhile, Mr. Owen returns to Woodbine for a second time after finishing sixth to Mondialiste in last year's Mile. He's placed twice behind Prix du Moulin (G1) winner Vadamos in a pair of group events in France this term.

Juddmonte homebred Full Mast, a Group 1 winner at two, won on debut in the U.S. in June but has disappointed in two stakes tries, including the King Edward (G2) over the Woodbine lawn. The local contingent includes Play the King (G2) hero Glenville Gardens, Highlander (G2) winner Passion for Action, and Grade 2 scorer Tower of Texas.

The C$300,000 Northern Dancer (G1) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf came up an outstanding race. Reigning champion turf male Big Blue Kitten and The Pizza Man, who also had a stellar record last season, are both trying to return to their best form. They'll be opposed by, among others, Man o' War (G1) winner Wake Forest and United Nations (G1) victor World Approval.

The home contingent includes Danish Dynaformer and Camp Creek, the last two winners of the Breeders S.

Dacita, the last horse to beat Tepin, in the 2015 Ballston Spa (G2), enters the C$300,000 Canadian (G2) at about 1 1/8 miles on the turf following a photo-finish score in the Diana (G1). She'll be opposed by Rainha Da Bateria, a head third in the Dian; 2015 Canadian heroine Strut the Course; and Grade/Group 3 winners Faufiler and Steip Amach.

Earlier in the day, Prince of Wales winner and Queen's Plate runner-up Amis Gizmo faces seven others in the C$150,000 Ontario Derby (G3) over nine furlongs on Tapeta.

(Coady Photography)