USA: Royal Ascot hope Tepin shows her class again

Tepin

Tepin: mare might go for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile before Queen Anne

  PICTURE: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos.  

Report: USA, Saturday

Keeneland: Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes (Grade 1) 1m½f, turf, 4yo+ f/m

THE brilliant racemare Tepin (Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux) produced another flawless performance at Keeneland on Saturday – and she is in such good form that connections are now eyeing another US run before sending her to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne Stakes.

Back at her favourite venue where she beat the males in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, the five-year-old was sent off a 2-5 favourite before extending her winning sequence to five as she galloped away from overmatched rivals to win the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley by five lengths.

But for a nose and a head, Tepin would have won her last ten starts, and Casse said he would “definitely think about” the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile on the Kentucky Oaks card before coming to Britain. She won the Grade 2 event last year.

Owner Robert Masterson’s mare broke the stakes-record in Saturday’s race, where her time was 1m40.53s. “Mr Masterson – if it wasn’t for him, everybody wouldn’t get to see the great Tepin,” said Casse. “He wanted to let her run another year. It puts a little pressure on us. I love it, but I just don’t want to let her down.”

Regular jockey Julien Leparoux was in awe of Tepin. “Every time you ask her to do something, she does even better,” he said.

“It makes my job easier – she can do whatever we want. I didn’t think there was going to be that much pace today, so I was planning on sitting second. But when I saw them going, I just sat back there. On the backside, she started to get going. She’s amazing.”

Ex-French-trained Wekeela showed up nicely on her first US start as she closed to claim second under Gary Stevens.

*** Miss Temple City, winner of Friday’s Maker’s 46 Mile, could also be heading for Royal Ascot. Trainer Graham Motion is considering the Duke of Cambridge for the four-year-old, a good fourth last year in the Coronation Stakes.

Also on Saturday

Oaklawn Park: Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo

Taking advantage of a hot pace up front, Creator (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana) charged from last to first to win this $1 million Kentucky Derby trial.

The 11-1 chance was a long way adrift at halfway before benefiting from an ‘in-out’ ride from Santana, who navigated his way through traffic in the stretch before the grey son of Tapit scored by a length and a quarter over fellow closer Suddenbreakingnews. “He made a nice run in the end,” said Santana. “I have the same trip in the Kentucky Derby.”

The favourite Cupid faded to 10th of 12.

Oaklawn Park: Oaklawn Hcap (Grade 2) 1m1f, dirt, 4yo+

Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Effinex (Jimmy Jerkens/Mike Smith) defied top-weight in this $750,000 contest, getting the better of a stretch battle with his Santa Anita Handicap conqueror Melatonin by a length.

Keeneland: Lexington Stakes (Grade 3) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo

Cupid may have failed at Oaklawn but his trainer Bob Baffert was on the mark here with Collected (Javier Castellano), who took command at the furlong pole before a four-length victory. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Swipe was only sixth on his seasonal debut.

 

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