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Tepin Back Against Own Gender in Endeavour

Tepin Back Against Own Gender in Endeavour: Few horses captivate American racing fans more than fillies who defeat males, at least when it comes to dirt racing. Eclipse Award Turf Female champion Tepin won the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) against open company in impressive fashion at Keeneland, although the wagering public expected her to win so it came as no surprise.

Tepin Breeders' Cup Mile

Tepin and jockey Julien Leparoux won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.
Breeders’ Cup Photo ©

Tepin comes back on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs in the $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (GIII), scheduled as Race 8 on the card. If successful, she might tackle on males more often for trainer Mark Casse and owner Robert Masterson. But, she faces a solid female Grade III field first and bettors should consider all options.

With that in mind, Tepin did win the Breeders’ Cup Mile in fantastic fashion, chasing a hot pace and putting away the field at the top of the stretch. The Casse Racing website author describes the significance of her win perfectly.

“(Tepin and Goldikova) are part of a group of female winners that includes Royal Heroine, Miesque, Ridgewood Pearl, and Six Perfections.”

“In 2015, Tepin showed she belongs on that list.”

When one-dimensional pacesetter Obviously hit the four-furlong marker in 48 seconds, announcer Larry Collmus called the pace “slow.” Despite the deceptive raw fractions, the TimeformUS pace figures for the Mile were 152 and 137. Note the late fade from Obviously too. He fights more often than not when presented with a moderate pace.

Yet, Tepin kept going in a historically-significant victory. The rest of the field turned into a giant mess of stragglers fighting for the second spot, while Tepin pulled away by a significant margin for a turf race. She won in a beautiful performance which fans will replay for years to come. She dominated the field of mostly males.

Mondialiste, who ran near last for the first half, closed on the outside for second place. Grand Arch received a good trip from fifth and fought hard to move up into third, meaning the two other pace horses besides Obviously (Tourist, Mshawish) faltered too. Tepin ran a special race, regardless of gender. She starts from post five in the Endeavour.

The other options include Lady Lara, who, as a 3-year-old filly, came very close to finishing ahead of eventual Woodbine Mile (GI) winner and older horse Trade Storm in Europe. Her United States campaign has been more conservative and it is hard not to notice Tepin defeated her in the Distaff Turf Mile (GII) and Just a Game (GI).

Tepin picks up excellent turf jockey Jose Lezcano for the second time though. They teamed up together and won the My Charmer (GIII) at Gulfstream Park West in her last start. Lezcano excels at saving ground and striking at the right time in turf events, and whoever upsets Tepin needs such a ride to overcome the advantage Tepin holds.

If Lady Lara impresses no one, how about a $3 million dollar horse? Photo Call makes her debut for Todd Pletcher after making a strong move in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI) before fading. Her class seems in question, despite a Grade I win at Santa Anita. On the plus side, Javier Castellano can help with a clever ride.

Also, Tepin’s stablemate Lexie Lou makes her presence felt as well. Lexie Lou is no stranger to facing males, as she captured the 2014 Queen’s Plate against Canadian-breds and finished second to former Horse of the Year and dual-crown winner California Chrome in a top-notch effort at Del Mar two falls ago.

Lexie Lou recently ran an uninspiring third to fellow Endeavour opponents Bureau de Change and Lovely Loyree, two mares with zero chance here. The race came after a year-long break and perhaps Lexie Lou improves enough to make noise in her second start off the layoff. All three discussed horses besides Tepin are capable of upset.

Lady Lara, Photo Call and Lexie Lou still chase an elite turf miler in Tepin, who not only can win racing fans’ hearts with another strong win, but could make a run for Horse of the Year if she picks up enough “male” victories and takes the Mile again. If anything, the 1 1/16th-mile distance might give room for pause, but she cannot be ignored.

Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes 2016 Post Positions & Odds
Race 8 3:45 PM ET
1 Lovely Loyree 12-1 De La Cruz/Boyce
2 Partisan Politics 5-1 Velazquez/Brown
3 Lady Lara 4-1 Lezcano/Mott
4 Photo Call 9-2 Castellano/Pletcher
5 Tepin 7-5 Leparoux/Casse
6 Bureau de Change 10-1 Bravo/Lynch
7 Lexie Lou 8-1 Gallardo/Casse