Tepin Woodbine Mile Results

Tepin Glorious at Woodbine Mile

The Woodbine Mile unfolded just as everyone expected. Going off as a 2/5 favorite, Tepin exercised patience and poise as she set herself up to bury the field. There were some concerns that the five-year old mare would be a bit tired and ragged after travelling back from Britain. Though she showed some signs of fatigue, she had plenty left to make short work of her rivals this past weekend.

Glevnille Gardens took the pack out as the longshot and set a perfect pace for Tepin, who sat back in fourth for much of the race. They hit the half-mile at :46.41 and the field burst in to the final stretch with Tepin unloading a solid fend right down the center of the track. She put forth just enough to keep Tower of Texas and Mutakayyef off her heels as she stretched across the finish line to win the Woodbine Mile, making it look all too easy in the process.

“She was obviously all heart, you could see even in the win picture that she’s laid it all on the line for you,” said Norman Casse, an assistant trainer and son of Mark Casse. “I had my reservations coming into the race. I thought we had her cranked up, but I wasn’t 100 percent confident. She got tired today but she’ll move forward and run a little better race next time.”

Head trainer Mark Casse stayed in Churchill Downs for the race, but was reached for comment on his horse’s Woodbine Mile victory. “I thought for a minute she was in trouble,” said the head trainer. “At the quarter pole, I thought she was okay and then towards the end, I was like ‘Okay, wire, I’m ready for you’.”

The Casse’s will certainly have her prepared for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, which she won last season. The Woodbine Mile looks as though it’s the final tuneup for one of the best race horses in the sport today, and with an eight-race winning streak growing and intact the job has been done properly. A title defence at the world championships seems matter of fact.

New Turf Broken in at Santa Anita by Curlin Rules

The brand new turf course installed at Santa Anita Park is expected to be unveiled to the general public during their September 30 autumn meet opener, but there was an advanced preview of sorts on September 15 when Curlin Rules took to the course.

Curlin Rules is trained by John Sadler and ridden by Mike Smith under Hronis Racing. They teamed up to put the three-year-old to work on the new turf course at Santa Anita for four furlongs. The work was timed at 48 4/5.

“This is just like Augusta (National Golf Club, home of the Masters),” joked Smith. “This colt seemed to really like it. It’s like a brand new putting green and it’s only going to get better. We’ve got two more weeks (before opening day) and that’s going to help even more.”

The new turf at Santa Anita is a mixture of Bandera-Bermuda Turf and was installed back in June and it’s all systems go for Day One of the 23-day autumn meet that will last 23 days, with the highlight being the November 4-5 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

“We’ve had optimal growing conditions over the summer and we’re anxious to demonstrate this course is ready for prime time,” said Vice-President of West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group Joe Morris. “This grass is close knit and uniform and it’s designed for this climate. We’re pleased with the way both the hillside course and the oval look and with how the grass has taken root. With the Breeders’ Cup coming in November, we can’t wait to get started.”

2016 Woodbine Mile Preview Tepin

Emotional Day For Casse At 2016 Woodbine Mile

The 2016 Woodbine Mile is more of a matter-of-fact than a matter of guessing. Tepin has been installed as the favorite at 4/5 with only two other horses offering reasonable challenges. It’s safe to say, however, that spending money on any other horse to win this race is a foolish exercise in financial planning.

This race represents a lot more things than it usually does. For Tepin, it’s a return to North American soil after vanquishing the Queen of Anne Stakes over at the Royal Ascot in Great Britain. The summer was spent overseas to avoid unnecessary exposure to heat as the five-year old mare prepares for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 2016 Woodbine Mile offers a place in that race to the winner as a challenge series event.

Even with the certainty surrounding the 2016 Woodbine Mile, it’s important to mention that there’s also a $1,000,000 purse up for grabs. Tepin has already earned $3.5 million in her incredible career, which has seen her go undefeated through five faces this season. Overall she is 12-3-1 in 20 starts with her last defeat coming last year at the Ballston Spa against Dacita, who is best wager in the Canadian Stakes  which runs earlier that afternoon.

Mark Casse’s assistant trainer, Norman Casse, has been on hand in Toronto to oversee the transition back from foreign competition for Tepin. As you’d hope, everything has gone as expected. “She settled in perfect, as expected,” said the assistant trainer. “That’s one of the things that makes her so special. She can go and do these things and never miss a beat. She was really happy yesterday and seems really happy this morning.”

More importantly, this is a homecoming for head trainer Mark Casse. “A lot of people don’t know, but I stepped away from training for 7-8 years and then when I started back, I started back up there,” Casse reminisced earlier this week. “So that was really important. And you know it’s a nice place to live, it allowed us to train there from the middle of March to the middle of December,” he continued. “Woodbine and Toronto has been probably the pivotal point of getting my career going again.”

Casse is unquestioned as an elite trainer of champions. He will be able to revisit the track where he rejuvenated his career with the horse that has meant the most to him as well. As long as Tepin runs well in the 2016 Woodbine Mile – and there’s no reason to think otherwise – it will be a joyful celebration for Casse, who comes full circle in his career.

If you’re looking for a second place finisher, I’d rather go with Arod, an Irish horse who is on the rise, over Mutakayyef. But it’s best to sit back and just enjoy this one as Tepin romps yet another field of rivals.

2016 Woodbine Mile – Saturday, September 17th at Woodbine (6:39pm EST)

1 Mile — 3+ Year Olds — $1,000,000

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Tower of Texas (ON) Eurico Rosa Da Silva 119 Roger L. Attfield 15/1
2 Mutakayyef (GB) DANE O’NEILL 121 William J. Haggas 5/2
3 Arod (IRE) Oisin Murphy 119 Peter W. Chapple-Hyam 10/1
4 Glenville Gardens (KY) Gary Boulanger 121 Sid C. Attard 12/1
5 Full Mast (KY) Joel Rosario 117 William I. Mott 15/1
6 Passion for Action (ON) Luis Contreras 121 Michael P. De Paulo 20/1
7 Mr. Owen (PA) Jamie P. Spencer 117 Francois Rohaut 15/1
8 Tepin (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 121 Mark E. Casse 4/5
2016 Canadian Stakes

2016 Canadian Stakes Preview

With a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on the line, the 2016 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack will once again feature a very competitive field. However, no horse deserves more attention than the expected favorite. Chad Brown’s Dacita hopes to not only win the $600,000 race but also return to the site of her biggest disaster.

With a record of 9-2-1 in 15 starts, the Chilean-born Dacita migrated to the United States last year where she made waves by dethroning Tepin at the Ballston Spa. From there she went straight to the world championships where she finished a disappointing ninth, striding helplessly to catch a lead pack that was headed by Stephanie’s Kitten. She would return at The Verve One to restore faith with a gutsy, runners-up finish and then go head-to-head with Tepin again in the Jenny Wiley. Unfortunately, the Chad Brown trainee finished fourth in that race.

This past summer has been much more fruitful for the 2016 Canadian Stakes hopeful. She has won both the New York and Diana in decisive fashion and cruises in to Woodbine with some renewed confidence and momentum. If she is to avenge the stinging loss she suffered at the Filly & Mare Turf, then she has no choice but to prove that she can continue to be a top choice on the board this weekend.

Challenging her will be a handful of notable entrants. Faufiler could be a sneaky choice to box Dacita with, though she has been all over the standings this year. She was last out placing fifth at the Beverly D. Stakes, a feat she also achieved at the Just A Game. The Graham Motion prospect also has a two stakes wins and two runner-up placings to show for her efforts during what’s been a busy season. Most horse players will stray away from her, but it’s not unwise to look her way if you’re looking for a big pay day.

Strut the Course is still searching for her first win in a stakes race, but has two second place finishes to show for her efforts at the Nassau and Dance Smartly. It’s hard to believe that this will be her breakout performance, but she is going to be worth considering in a top-heavy field.

Outside of Dacita, the only other serious contender is Midnight Miley who is a bit of an enigma in this one. She is an exceptional runner on synthetic tracks, but hasn’t replicated those performances on turf. She’s intriguing, but I wouldn’t peg her as a true threat. The remainder of the 2016 Canadian Stakes is listed below.

Dacita remains the top choice, as does her rival Tepin who will feature in the Woodbine Mile which also takes place that day.

Canadian Stakes – Saturday, September 17th at Woodbine (4:30pm EST)
1 1/8 miles — 3+ Year Old Fillies and Mares — $300,000

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Faufiler (IRE) Edgar S. Prado 119 H. Graham Motion
2 Dacita (CHI) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 124 Chad C. Brown
3 Steip Amach (IRE) Umberto Risoli 119 David Smaga
4 Strut the Course (ON) Rafael Manuel Hernandez 119 Barbara J. Minshall
5 Rainha Da Bateria (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 115 Chad C. Brown
6 Midnight Miley (KY) Flavien Prat 119 Julia Carey
7 Goodyearforroses (IRE) Alan Garcia 115 Roger L. Attfield

California Chrome Ready for Awesome Again Stakes

California Chrome Shoots for Sixth Straight Win in Awesome Again

October 1 is the date. California Chrome will shoot for his sixth straight victory this year when the all-time leading money earner runs in the Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. The 2014 Preakness Stakes champion and son of Lucky Pulpit has recorded earnings of more than $13 million and is in line for a $1 million bonus if he wins both the mile and one eight Awesome Again and the mile and a quarter $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita November 5.

“He’s come out of the Pacific Classic in great shape,” said Sherman from his Los Alamitos base. “We’ll bring him up to Santa Anita about a week before the race and let him get re-acclimated there. We did that earlier this year and it worked out real well. The million dollar bonus is very nice, but if he wasn’t ready, we wouldn’t be running. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is our major objective, no question, but he’s doing great and we expect him to run big in the Awesome Again.”

Ridden in his last 17 starts by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome has won four out of seven starts at The Great Race Place – all of them stakes.

“We are elated at the prospect of California Chrome running on our Breeders’ Cup Preview Day here at Santa Anita on Oct. 1,” said Joe Morris, Senior Vice President, West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “At this point, he has truly become a superstar in our game and we want to thank his owners, Perry Martin and Taylor Made Farm, as well as Art Sherman, for making the commitment to run here on Oct 1. This is going to be huge for our fans and for our sport.”

A winner of the 2014 Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, “Chrome” added $6 million to his earnings earlier this year when he won the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup at Meydan. .

The Awesome Again is one of five Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifying prep stakes on Oct. 1. Santa Anita will be hosting the two-day Breeders’ Cup for a record ninth time on Nov. 4 & 5.

Try Your Luck Wins Dueling Grounds Oaks in Style

Try Your Luck by Far the Best in Dueling Grounds Oaks

Following three straight show finishes this summer, Try Your Luck put it all together in the $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks to overwhelm her 11 competitors. With jockey Florent Geroux aboard, who won five races at Kentucky Downs Sunday, Try Your Luck stalked the pace in the early going and took over in the stretch to draw off by 7 1/2 lengths.

Layout 1“She’d been hard-luck going back to a couple races in the spring and then the DQ in her last,” said trainer Mike Maker, referring to a disqualification from first in the Aug. 13 Pucker Up Stakes in her previous start at Arlington Park. “She proved herself today.”

Try Your Luck also approached the course record, winning in 2:11.60, after blowing away Taralena and third-place Leafy Shade over the undulating  firm turf covering 1 5/16 miles.

Try Your Luck, a Lookin at Lucky filly, paid $8.40, $3.60 and $3.20. Race favorite Taralena finished willingly in second and paid $3.00 while Leafy Shade paid $10.20 to show. Try Your Luck earned $114,000, more than doubling her bankroll to $225,114.

Twelve horses went to the gate, but none were a match for the aptly named Try Your Luck and trainer Mike Maker, who followed the Oaks win with a victory by Oscar Nominated in the Dueling Grounds Derby.

A winner for the third time in 10 starts, Try Your Luck’s owner anticipated more winners ahead. “She’s had a couple tough trips,” said owner Justin Carroll. “It was just a matter of letting things open up in front of her and let her do her thing. We see more big things to come from her.”

Maker confirmed after the race that the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland on October 15 will be next for Try Your Luck.

Keeneland Yearling Sales Stabilize

The Keeneland September yearling sale has been highlighted by two major sales: a $1 million purchase of a Medaglia d’Oro colt and a $900,000 sale of a War Front filly. Overall, even if you were to forget about those two sales for a second, the sale was solid across the board on the first day.


A smaller field of horses available for purchase has led to an increase in the average sales price from a year ago. So far, 108 horses have been sold for $34,531,000. That number is down from last year’s $44,642,000, but last year saw 150 horses sold. The 2016 average sales price of $319,731 is 7.4 percent more than last year’s $297,163. The $267,500 median of this year is also up ($265,000 in 2015).

The 35.7 percent RNA was up from last year’s 31.2 percent. Last year saw 19 horses sold in the $500,000-$999,000 range; this year there were 25. Keeneland officials were pleased with the results so far and feel the market is beginning to stabilize.

“There was good strength at the top end of the market,” said Keeneland Sales Director Geoffrey Russell. “(There was) selective bidding as we anticipated and have seen in other markets.”

“The word stable feels like it might be appropriate here, because we saw our average up and the median was just a tick up over last year, with fewer offerings,” said Vice-President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston. “To have your $500,000-999,999 to be up and to have your average and your median comparable or a little better than last year, we’re pretty pleased with that.”

Desert Party Sold to Co-breeder Stephen Sinatra and Partners

Graded stakes winner Desert Party is no longer owned by Darley after the New York sire was sold to a partnership that is headed up by of co-breeder Stephen Sinatra. The sale means Desert Party will be relocated to Irish Century Farm.

“You never know in this business how things are going to work out, do you?” said Sinatra, who is the Managing Partner of Desert Party’s new ownership group. “Having been one of his breeders, I’ve followed his career closely and am truly excited about being able to stand him and keep him in New York. And I must express my appreciation to Darley for working with us, as I know other offers were also fielded.”

The 2017 stud fee for Desert Party has yet to be announced and most likely won’t be made public until next year. In ten starts for Godolphin, Desert Party won six and earned $2.1 million. A few noteworthy wins include the Sanford Stakes (gr. II), the Derrinstown Stud Elnadim Mahab Al Shimall (UAE-III), and the Gulf News UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III).

The past three seasons saw Desert Party stand at Sequel Stallions in New York and he was named the leading freshman sire of New York in 2014. He is also listed as a top-ten sire in New York for 2016, and is led by Saharan, winner of two dirt races and owner of a career-high 102 Equibase Speed Figure.


Runhappy Continues Prep For Season Debut

The ongoing absence of Runhappy continues, but the four-year old sprinter is nearing his return. Trainer Laura Wohlers is drilling the reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion at Keeneland and to say that the work has gone magnificently is an understatement. With a time of 1:24 3/5 over seven furlongs, it’s safe to say that Runhappy is well on his way to getting back to competition.

“He’s progressing, and his work was nice and he was in control,” said trainer Laura Wohlers. “We wanted a more controlled work. He needs to learn that he doesn’t have to do eleven [seconds] for an eighth of a mile all the time. He did do some sub-twelve [seconds] in the beginning, but this work was better. It was more like his breeze before the King’s Bishop.”

It’s anticipated that Runhappy is being pointed back towards the Breeders’ Cup for the Dirt Mile, but in the meantime the Ack Ack Handicap is his next destination. The one-mile contest at Churchill Downs runs on October 1st, and it’s more than likely that we’ll see this champion dusting the field yet again as long as there aren’t any setbacks.

“The most important thing is how he looks good cooling out,” Wohlers continued. “He looks good.”

To be frank, every bit of news about Runhappy has been excessively positive since he made his return to proper training. At 7-0-0 in 8 starts, Jim McIngvale’s prized horse has won just over $1.4 million all of which was earned in 2015. Aside from a blip at the Lecomte where he finished 9th, Runhappy has demolished rivals at the King’s Bishop, Phoenix, BC Sprint and the Malibu Stakes. The last time he raced was on December 26th, 2015.

Runhappy will no doubt re-assert himself as the best sprinter in the country once he begins competing again and the world of racing will be better off for it. No other declarations have been made for the Ack Ack, and you can’t blame other owners and trainers for not wanting to get crushed in a race. We’ll see how the field rounds out in the coming weeks.


Stopchargingmaria Retired from Racing

Fine Filly Stopchargingmaria Won 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Stopchargingmaria, the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner has been retired from racing. The Todd Pletcher trainee completes her career with 9 wins from 18 starts and earnings of $3,014,000. She won both her starts at Pimlico Race Course winning the 2014 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and the 2015 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3). Stopchargingmaria captured three Grade I events and finished in the money in 14 of her 18 total starts.

Stopchargingmaria wins stretch duel in Distaff
Stopchargingmaria wins stretch duel in Distaff

“Stopchargingmaria is not only one of the best fillies we have had in our barn, she has become part of the family. We are sending her home sound and happy. After a Breeders’ Cup Championship, three Grade I wins and over $3 million in earnings, she deserves a great retirement,” said Pletcher.

Stopchargingmaria began her 2016 campaign with a narrowly beaten runner-up effort in the GI Madison Stakes at Keeneland in April and most recently was sixth in the GI Ogden Phipps at Belmont June 11.

“While we were hoping Stopchargingmaria would be able to defend her Breeders’ Cup title, she is giving us signs that she is ready to start the next phase of her life,” said Town and Country CEO Kiki Courtelis. “She has given us so much joy, it is our turn to give back to her by honoring her wishes. We are thrilled to have her home sound.”

Campaigned by Repole Stable through 2014, Stopchargingmaria was acquired privately by Town and Country Racing after she RNA’d for $3.15 million at that year’s FasigTipton Kentucky November Sale.

Town and Country Racing president Shannon Potter said no plans have been discussed regarding breeding the mare next year.

“We have not got around to those discussions yet,” he said. “She has given us the biggest thrill we’ve had in racing, so we are just enjoying having her on the farm.”