Robert E. Masterson's Breeders' Cup Champion Tepin was the facile winner of Saturday's 28th running of the Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes, drawing away from the field to win by five lengths. The 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein covered 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland's firm turf course in 1:40.53 for trainer Mark Casse, breaking a 20-year-old stakes record, just 1/5 off the track record.
“I have to say something,” said Casse after the race. “(Owner) Mr. (Robert) Masterson – if it wasn't for him – everybody wouldn't get to see the great Tepin. He wanted to let her run another year (rather than being retired). It puts a little pressure on us. I love it. But I just don't want to let her down. It's hard.”
Tepin broke well and went for the lead under Julien Leparoux, but was immediately joined by Illuminant and She's Not Here. Leparoux deferred to those two, and Illuminant led the field by a length through a first quarter in :23.39. Tepin settled along the inside rail in third several lengths off the leader. Approaching the half-mile mark, She's Not Here took over the lead to mark the fraction in :46.89, sprinting away to a 1 1/2-length lead as Illuminant began to fade.
Leparoux allowed Tepin a loop of rein nearing the top of the lane, and the champion mare caught up to She's Not Here in just a few strides. That mare put up a brief challenge, but Tepin drew away easily to win as she pleased. Leparoux was wrapped up late on the mare, winning by five lengths on the wire. Weekela closed from well back to gain second, and Illuminant re-rallied to finish third. Dacita finished fourth.
“She's amazing. She can do whatever we want,” said Leparoux. “I didn't think there was going to be that much pace today, so I was planning on sitting second. But when I saw (other horses) going (to the lead), I just sat back there. On the backside, she started to get going. She's amazing. Every time you ask her to do something, she does even better. It's great.”
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Tepin was a $140,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale. She extended her winning streak to five races in a row with Saturday's win, including last fall's Breeders' Cup Mile over males. Tepin's career record now stands at 10 wins from 18 starts, with earnings of just under $2.9 million.
Watch the race replay here:
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