Robert Masterson's Champion Turf Female Tepin arrived at trainer Mark Casse's Churchill barn Sunday at 5 a.m. after spending her summer at Saratoga, and she's set to make her next start in Saturday's $400,000 First Lady (GI) at Keeneland, the same race that she used last year to springboard to a victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
“She got here (Sunday) morning and she'll go out to the track (Monday) and just jog,” said son and assistant Norman Casse. “It's all systems go for the First Lady.”
Casse decided to utilize the First Lady as opposed to the Shadwell Turf Mile on the same date, because, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Shadwell was coming up a bit tougher than he expected.
The daughter of Bernstein has put together a spotless 5-year-old campaign remaining undefeated in six starts this year, punching a pair of victories at Tampa Bay Downs this winter in the Feb. 12 Endeavour (GIII) and the March 13 Hillsborough (GII) that were followed by decisive wins in the April 16 Jenny Wiley (GI) at Keeneland and May 7 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (GII). She then took her talents overseas to Royal Ascot where she defeated some of the world's top milers in the Queen Anne (Group 1) before her most recent win in the Woodbine Mile (GI) on Sept. 17.
“I think we know that it's California Chrome's title to lose,” Casse said. “He's had an unbelievable year. We're just honored to be in the (Horse of the Year) discussion. We hope to end her campaign the right way. We've got two more races this year so all we can do is hope for the best.”
Casse discussed how Tepin came out of her most recent effort at Woodbine.
“I was really surprised; when she came back from Woodbine I thought the she would be more tired,” Casse said. “She was really tired after the race, she had to ship back to Saratoga and I thought that it would knock her out. As soon as she came back to the racetrack three days later, she was better after the Woodbine Mile than she was going in. She seems happy to be back at her home at Churchill so she should move forward from Woodbine.”
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