July 22, 2024

Tepin – 2016 Champion Turf Female

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

Robert Masterson’s Tepin joins an illustrious list of two-time champion turf females. Three of her predecessors were internationally based – French queens Miesque (1987-88) and Goldikova (Ire) (2009-10), and British royalty Ouija Board (GB) (2004 and 2006). The only previous American-based dual champion in this division is Hall of Famer Flawlessly (1992-93), a clear sign of Tepin’s historical stature, and her future enshrinement in Saratoga Springs.

The Mark Casse trainee had clinched her 2015 Eclipse Award with end-of-season heroics in the First Lady (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Keeneland. Although Tepin lost both title defenses this fall, her late reverses were not enough to offset an epic streak.

Tepin commenced her campaign by turning a Tampa Bay double in the Endeavour (G3) and in a course record-setting Hillsborough (G2). Shifting to her Kentucky base in the spring, she renewed her love affair with Keeneland when routing the Jenny Wiley (G1) by five lengths in stakes-record time. The champion maintained her sparkling form throughout her busy spring, culminating in a repeat win in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2).

That set Tepin up for her historic tilt at Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne (G1), versus males, over a straight mile. Concerns about her having to adjust to racing without her nasal strip (a piece of equipment not allowed there) proved unfounded. Not missing that “security blanket,” or Lasix, she stamped her class and made history as the first American-based runner to take the historic contest. She also gave an unforgettable dimension to the social media tag of “Tepin Tuesday.”

After a three-month freshening, Tepin resumed in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and defeated another international cast to extend her winning streak to eight. The sequence ended in the First Lady back at Keeneland, where she was taking the ostensibly easier prep route. As it turned out, she gave unheralded front runner Photo Call (Ire) too much rope, and couldn’t catch the 29-1 longshot.

Tepin moved forward for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but a frenetically fast pace saw her rate farther back than usual. Charging late on the outside, she came up a half-length shy of the charmed-trip Tourist. Both eclipsed Wise Dan’s stakes mark, but only Tourist’s time counts in the record book. Tepin’s near-miss nevertheless secured her second Eclipse Award from a rear-guard action by Miss Temple City, who twice beat males in Grade 1s – specifically to avoid Tepin – but finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Had their Breeders’ Cup positions been reversed, voters might have had a tougher decision.

Found 11
Queen’s Trust 7
Lady Eli 2
Miss Temple City 2
Catch a Glimpse 1

Tepin was bred by Machmer Hall in Kentucky and sold for $140,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. She is by Bernstein and out of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened, who is in Broodmare of the Year reckoning after her prior foal, millionaire Vyjack, set a Santa Anita course record in the City of Hope Mile (G2). Currently sporting a bankroll of $4,433,358 from her 23-13-5-1 line, Tepin may yet add to that this spring. Tentative plans call for her to seek a repeat in the February 11 Endeavour ahead of a trip to the Dubai Turf (G1) on World Cup night.

According to a report in Thoroughbred Daily News, Tepin might be more interested in motherhood herself at this point. Casse said that if the six-year-old mare prefers to be in “Mommy mode,” they won’t press on with her.