Team Tepin Comes Together for Woodbine Mile win

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

September 17th, 2016

Those around Tepin in the moments before she won the Woodbine Mile (G1) paced underneath hats emblazoned with the champion’s name. Afterward chants of “Tepin! Tepin!” rained down from the grandstand as she entered the winner’s circle.

“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her, and we’d like everyone to be her fan,” owner Robert Masterson said.

It’s clear that all those who care for Tepin—Mark Casse and his son Norm who train for Masterson and jockey Julien Leparoux especially—share in her accomplishments as a team, but all available resources were called on to get Tepin into the Woodbine Mile winner’s circle on September 17 at Woodbine.

Off since June 14 when winning the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot in England, Tepin had been targeting a start at Saratoga but took more time to return to the races because of some dull workouts.

“There was one workout in particular that I lost some sleep over,” Norm Casse said. “I can say that now, but at the time I was worried. She didn’t gallop out against a horse she should have left in the dust.”

Then in early August her regular jockey, Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux, injured his wrist. He returned to the races last week at Kentucky Downs but not before fellow Frenchman Florent Geroux had to ride Tepin in workouts.

“We’re friends, but we’re not that good of friends,” Leparoux said about making sure he retained the mount aboard Tepin.

Everything looked to come together for the Woodbine Mile itself until Mark Casse’s flight from Kentucky was cancelled, meaning he would miss one of the few big races at Woodbine he has not won. Until the team picked him up and got him that elusive win.

And what a win it was. Tepin broke on top but settled in fourth behind longshot Glenville Gardens through fractions of :23.38 and :46.41. Leparoux then made his move and inched closer into contention through six furlongs in 1:10.45 before getting the measure of the field and holding off Tower of Texas by a half-length.

“From the 8 post I knew I could do anything,” Leparoux said. “She broke well and settled well and was best today.”

After what happened is what’s next. Norm Casse said Tepin would return to Churchill Downs and target a possible start at Keeneland before looking to defend her Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) victory. Tepin won the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland last year but the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) against males is also a possibility. Her eight-race win streak has come at five different tracks. The Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park could make 10 in a row at six different tracks.

“We might run her before the Breeders’ Cup because she likes to run, and she’s better off running her than working her,” Masterson said. “It’s a long time [seven weeks] before the Breeders’ Cup. She’s won three Grade 1s at Keeneland, so we may run her in one of the Grade 1s [in October] at Keeneland.”

Tepin has now won 13 of 21 races lifetime, and she is undefeated in 6 starts this year.

Photo courtesy of Melanie Martines (@SkimtheRail)