Robert Masterson’s Tepin headlines a probable field of nine for the Grade 1 $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile, to be held Saturday, September 17, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.
Tepin, a five-time Grade 1 winner and the Eclipse Award champion grass mare of 2015 known as the ‘Queen of the Turf’, brings a seven-race win streak into the Woodbine Mile which is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event.
The champion mare breezed five furlongs over the Saratoga training turf on Monday in :59.88 under jockey Florent Geroux. However, Tepin’s regular rider, Julien Leparoux, will ride the talented bay having recently recovered from a wrist injury suffered in the gallop out of a race at Saratoga in August.
The mount in the $1-million Mile was always reserved for Leparoux.
“That was never in question,” said Casse. “Right now, Flo is the understudy and he’s got to know Tepin quite well, but there was never any question that Julien would ride her.
“Julien is, and has been, a real big part of our team and anytime you have a team player down it hurts,” continued Casse. “He’s breezed horses for us this week at Churchill. We’ve been anxious to have him back and not just for Tepin, he’ll ride Airoforce this weekend in the Dueling Grounds Derby (at Kentucky Downs) for us.”
Leparoux won the Queen’s Plate with Sir Dudley Digges here in July for trainer Mike Maker and owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.
Casse was particularly impressed with Tepin’s most recent breeze in which she worked in company with Ontario-bred Natalma hopeful, Enstone.
“Tepin was super. She’s training as good as she ever has if not better. She worked with Enstone, a Canadian-bred we ran at Saratoga and got beat a head,” said Casse.
Enstone, a maiden after three starts, is well-regarded by the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer.
“We entered Enstone three times at Saratoga and when we finally got her in, the race came off the turf and we had to scratch her. We’re going to run her in the Natalma,” said Casse. “We think a lot of Enstone and we wanted somebody that could keep up with Tepin and that’s not easy to do. She worked with her and galloped out with her. We were impressed. Obviously, it was not a race but it was an impressive work for both.”
Tepin is slated to work once more at Saratoga before shipping up to Woodbine on Tuesday with an entourage of stakes hopefuls.
“Tepin will work on Sunday at Saratoga and arrive at Woodbine, with an entire contingency of horses, probably on Tuesday,” said Casse. “Tepin, World Approval, Enstone and Black Canary will come up. Irad Ortiz will ride Black Canary in the Natalma.”
Casse has seven fillies nominated to the Grade 1 Natalma and another five to the Grade 2 Summer Stakes. Both juvenile events, slated for one mile on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course on Sunday, September 18, are part of the Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In series.
“If all goes well we have Thora Barber, Victory to Victory, Black Canary, Enstone and possibly Kodiak Gal for the Natalma,” continued Casse. “And as far as the Summer, we have Conquest Sure Shot and Conquest Farenheit.”
Casse noted that Woodbine Mile nominee Conquest Enforcer will race Sunday in the $100,000 Allied Forces Stakes, a six furlong turf sprint at Belmont Park.
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