Tepin looks to extend streak to eight in Mile
The popular champion Tepin drew the outside post 8 and has been pegged as the 1-2 favorite under Julien Leparoux in the 20th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile on Saturday.
Tepin is riding the wave of a seven-race win streak. She beat the boys in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile and in her last outing in June, in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Norm Casse, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said an outside post is ideal for Tepin, but he noted that she has won from the one-hole before.
“She’s drawn outside and can watch everything unfold,” Norm Casse said. “I prefer that. She makes everything easy. She’s so professional.”
Mutakayyef, a Group 2 winner in England, is the clear second choice at 7-2 and will start from post 2. Since being gelded last winter, the 5-yearold Mutakayyef has been a vastly improved runner. He was arguably best when a troubled third behind the accomplished Postponed and Highland Reel in the Group 1 Juddmonte International on Aug. 17 at York.
Arod, another English runner, is the 10-1 third choice, starting from post 3. He is winless in four starts this year, but is exiting an improved third in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Full Mast, a U.S. shipper, is 10-1. He was a troubled fourth as the favorite in the Grade 2 King Edward here July 2 for trainer Bill Mott, who won the inaugural Woodbine Mile with Geri. Full Mast drew post 5.
Off a second in a Group 3 fixture, the French runner Mr. Owen is 15-1. On yielding ground, he finished a nonthreatening sixth in last year’s Woodbine Mile. He has post 7.
Rounding out the field are the locals Glenville Gardens (20-1, post 4), Passion for Action (20-1, post 6), and Tower of Texas (20-1, post 1).
The spectacular Woodbine Mile card also features the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf, the Grade 2 Canadian, and the Grade 3 Ontario Derby.
Churchill: Pocahontas, Iroquois
With 2-year-olds, there’s always hope. That’s one reason Dale Romans is so high on Not This Time – not to mention the trainer’s natural inclination to give his horses a great benefit of doubt.
“He might be one of the best I’ve ever hard,” Romans said. “He’s got all the makings.”
Not This Time, a 10-length winner of an Aug. 12 maiden race at Ellis Park, will be among the favorites when he starts from the outside post in a field of eight in the Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois Stakes, one of four stakes on a terrific Saturday card at Churchill Downs.
As the 11-day September meet gets under way Friday at his hometown track, Romans is looking for a productive final third to a 2016 that has been mostly disappointing, at least by his lofty standards. Romans won the 2012 Eclipse Award for top trainer with 20 graded stakes victories and $11.8 million in stable earnings. So far this year, Romans has three graded stakes wins and $3.4 million.
Not This Time, bred and owned by the Albaugh family of Iowa, is so named because the Albaughs had some pangs of regret after selling the colt’s older brother Liam’s Map, who went on to win the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“They’re keeping him, all right,” Romans said. “He won by 10 in a gallop, he’s by Giant’s Causeway, and he’s doing everything the right way. Everybody’s really excited about him.”
The Iroquois, along with its sister race, the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas, both will be run at 1 1/16 miles and offer Win and You’re In berths to the Nov. 4-5 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and qualifying points (10 to the winners) toward the Kentucky Derby and Oaks next spring.
Special first post for the 11-race Saturday card is 2:30 p.m. Eastern, with the last race going at 7:29.
From the rail out, the field for the Iroquois (race 8): Lookin At Lee, Honor Thy Father, Skinflint, Thirstforlife, Blame Will, Just Move On, Recruiting Ready, and Not This Time.
The Pocahontas (race 10): Bling On the Music, Dream Dancing, I’mluckysgirl, Jet Away Sue, Jordan’s Henny, Someday Soon, One Thirty One, Ever So Clever, Daddys Lil Darling, and Sully’s Dream.
The other two stakes on Saturday, the Locust Grove and Open Mind, go as races 3 and 9, respectively.
Tepin will start from the outside post in the Woodbine Mile.