Heralded filly Tepin's solid workout leaves her on schedule to run at Woodbine | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Heralded filly Tepin's solid workout leaves her on schedule to run at Woodbine

August 23, 2016 - 3:34 PM

Tepin's second workout in nearly five weeks has the champion turf mare firmly on schedule to run in next month's $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.

The heralded filly ran a half-mile in a sharp 47.04 seconds on Saratoga's Oklahoma turf course Tuesday with jockey Florent Geroux replacing injured regular Julien Leparoux (fractured wrist). Last week, the '15 Eclipse Award winner as champion turf female worked at a pedestrian 53.11 seconds in a half-mile timed workout also at Saratoga.

"I don't know that I was surprised but it's something we were wanting to see from her," said trainer Mark Casse, eight times Canada's top conditioner and a recent inductee into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. "What's happened is she's kind of got into a rhythm of running pretty often and so we don't have to ask her to do much in between races.

"We were't necessarily looking for brilliance but we (Casse and assistant trainer Norman Casse, his son) felt, 'Hey she's got to start picking it up, we've got to get her ready.' I'd say her work today would've been A-plus where her previous work would've been a C-plus."

Casse said a crisp morning and running with Airoforce, a three-year-old multiple graded-stakes winner, both worked in Tepin's favour.

"Airoforce is a very good horse in his own right and they went head-to-head and it was a perfect work," Casse said. "She definitely likes cooler weather and it was a crisp morning, probably the crispest one since we've had her at Saratoga.

"You could see even before she went out to breeze that she was so much happier. She loves to run and thrives on racing but when we worked her in hot weather it was just kind of felt like she said to us afterwards, 'Hey guys, I'm still planning on taking a little more time.' We've had her since she was a year old so we know when she's happy and when she isn't."

Cooler temperatures would certainly work in Tepin's favour in a potential rematch Sept. 17 with defending Mile champion Mondialiste at Woodbine. Tepin, American racing's top-ranked filly, finished ahead of Mondialiste to capture last year's Breeders Cup Mile and a showdown between the two racing heavyweights would certainly add spice to the Toronto oval's premiere turf event.

Tepin's down time has allowed Leparoux to get healthy. Casse expects the veteran jockey to be ready to ride in time for the Mile.

"We've got to train (Leparoux) as well," Casse chuckled. "He's on track.

"He'll be at our barn next week in Kentucky."

Tepin is 5-0 this year and has won seven straight since a second-place finish in the US$400,000 Grade 2 Ballston Spa turf event at Saratoga on Aug. 29, 2015. The five-year-old mare hasn't run since beating the boys to win the Grade 1 Queen Anne Stakes on June 14 at England's Royal Ascot.

But Tepin will bypass this year's Ballston Spa, which goes Saturday, for the Mile at the urging of owner Robert Masterson.

"Many people probably say, 'Hey, Mark Casse wants to bring her to Woodbine,' because they know how much we run at Woodbine," Casse said. "But Mr. Masterson, when he decided run her another year — a lot of people would've retired her after she won the Breeders' Cup — said, 'I don't want to just go and run and win the same races, I want to go outside our comfort zone,' and you know what? He was right.

"He wanted to go to Royal Ascot and the Woodbine Mile, which I think says a lot about the Mile. But he has always stressed if it's not right for her then we won't do it because he always wants what's best for his horse."

Masterson's decision, though, means there won't be a Ballston showdown between Tepin and undefeated Lady Eli, the 2014 Breeders' Cup Fillies Turf champion who hasn't raced since winning the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks in July 2015 due to laminitis.

"I'd love to see Lady Eli be at her best, let us be at our best then let them go at it," Casse said. "I think it would be good for racing."

But like most prized thoroughbreds, Tepin sometimes has a mind of her own.

"Oh, she's spoiled," Casse said. "We've taken her out on the track and been like, 'C'mon, go train,' and she looks at us like, 'Ah, no, I don't feel like it right now.'

"Norman has said to me, 'I think she's a little spoiled,' and I've said back, 'Ya think?' But she deserves to be spoiled."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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