Tepin ‘flew home’ in final work for Woodbine Mile

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September 12th, 2016

If any rivals had hopes that Tepin might be a little below her best in Saturday’s Woodbine Mile (G1) – her first start since her historic conquest of Royal Ascot – the champion’s recent works should make them think again.

On Monday, Tepin capped a strong series of drills by touring a half-mile in :49.71 on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training turf. Or more precisely, the Mark Casse trainee toured her first quarter before zipping her final quarter in :23.

"Today was an easy half-mile,” Norman Casse, the trainer’s son and assistant, told Woodbine publicity.

"All her big works have been completed and this was just a maintenance type work. We didn't put her in company. Her regular exercise rider worked her.

"It was a typical work for Tepin. She went off a little slow and we asked her to finish around the quarter pole. She flew home and got the last quarter in :23 flat.

"From the wire to the three-quarter pole, I got her in :12 and change, so she was actually galloping out better than she was working. I was really encouraged by the work."

Since extending her winning skein to seven in the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot June 14, Tepin has been summering at the Spa. The heat put her off enough to keep her from racing there, but she’s been back on song in a sequence of works on the Oklahoma turf – a half in :47.04 August 23, followed by a pair of five-furlong bullets in :58.44 (August 29) and :59.88 (September 5).

Plans call for Tepin to ship to Woodbine Wednesday.

"She's a superstar and she embraces it," Casse said. "She soaks up the media attention and likes the fans to come and see her. She was anointed the 'Queen of the Turf' by Travis Stone when she won at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. You'll see when she arrives. She knows she's the queen."

Winning at Royal Ascot has enhanced her mystique.

"It's going to be hard to replace the feeling we had when she won at Royal Ascot," Casse added. "Once she started getting closer to going over there and she got that international mandate, I realized how exciting it was going to be and how much of a star she was becoming overseas and how important horse racing was there. 

"To go over there and win one of their most important races was special. The only way we could ever top that feeling again would be to win the Kentucky Derby (G1).  It's one of those fleeting moments. It's like an out-of-body experience and I wish we could bottle up the feeling we had when she won at Royal Ascot.

"I'm really excited about the possibility of winning the Woodbine Mile. It's a race that has eluded Dad so far. When we brought her back this year, one of our main goals was to come back and win what I think is Woodbine's marquee race. I'm really looking forward running her there.

"I don't know if we're out there to break a track record. She's ready to run her race and I think she's going to be tough to beat.

"When she brings her 'A' game, she's always tough to beat," Casse concluded. "We want this one and then we're looking forward to the Breeders' Cup after that."

Woodbine lists seven probable rivals for Tepin in this “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) – European invaders Mutakayyef, Arod, and Mr. Owen; locally based Glenville Gardens, Passion for Action, and Tower of Texas; and the Bill Mott-trained Full Mast.

Photo courtesy Churchill Downs/Coady Photography