April 18, 2019

Two-time champion Tepin retired

Tepin's half-sister by War Front is one to watch (Photo courtesy of Ascot via Facebook)

Two-time champion turf mare Tepin, a top-level winner in three countries who became a rare U.S.-trained winner of a Group 1 race at Royal Ascot last June when taking the Queen Anne (G1) on opening day of the prestigious five-day fixture, has been retired.

Norman Casse, assistant to his father, trainer Mark Casse, tweeted on Tuesday: “Tepin took us places and achieved things we had only dreamt about. We will be forever grateful.”

A blue sign was affixed at the Casse barn near Tepin’s stall at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning, commemorating the “Queen of the Turf.”

Tepin had raced three times by this date a year ago, but the six-year-old daughter of Bernstein had not recorded a work since February 1. She missed an intended start in the February 11 Endeavour (G3) due to a bout of colic the weekend before, and refused to work on March 27, with Casse explaining she was in heat.

Winner in two of four starts at two, including the Delta Downs Princess (G3), Tepin’s career was at a crossroads following four starts at three in which she only placed once, finishing second in the San Clemente H. (G2). Her final three starts that season were on turf, which ultimately proved the surface over which she would make a world-wide impact.

Tepin kicked off her four-year-old campaign in 2015 with three straight wins, including a 9-1 upset of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) and the Just a Game (G1). Narrowly beaten in Saratoga’s Diana (G1) and Ballston Spa (G2), she next dominated her First Lady (G1) foes by seven lengths over soft ground at Keeneland.

The quality of that performance convinced connections to try males in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over the same course four weeks later, and it proved to be a wise one as she joined an illustrious list of female Mile winners with a 2 1/4-length victory. She was awarded the Eclipse Award as champion turf female of 2015.

The winning streak that began in the First Lady would ultimately reach eight through the fall of 2016. Wins in the Endeavour, Hillsborough (G2), Jenny Wiley (G1), and Churchill Distaff Turf Mile preceded her trip to Royal Ascot for the June 14 Queen Anne. Contested on highly testing ground over a straight, undulating mile, Tepin gamely fought off Belardo to win by a half-length in the meeting’s top race for older milers.

Rested until the September 17 Woodbine Mile (G1), Tepin again faced male rivals and made it three-for-three over the boys with a half-length decision.

Tepin’s career came to a close with a pair of second-place efforts. Unable to catch a loose-on-the-lead Photo Call in the First Lady, Tepin then missed by only a half-length in her title defense of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita when the winning Tourist took advantage of a more favorable trip. She again won the Eclipse Award as champion turf mare at season’s end.

A likely future inductee in the Hall of Fame, Tepin retires with a lifetime mark of 23-13-5-1, $4,433,358. She’s owned by Robert Masterson and was regularly ridden by Julien Leparoux.