Tepin Favored in Ballston Spa

August 27, 2015 05:35pm
After the Grade 1, $1.6 million Travers is run Saturday evening, a contentious group of fillies and mares led by millionaire Tepin will contest the Grade 2, $400,000 Ketel One Ballston Spa on the turf at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Mark Casse, Tepin, the 5-2 morning line favorite, has won three races this year, including the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 6 at Belmont Park and the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile on May 2. Most recently, she finished second in the Grade 1 Diana at the Spa, and Norman Casse, assistant trainer to Mark Casse, is expecting a big effort from his stable star in the 1 1/16-mile race.
"I thought she ran a winning race in the Diana," said Casse. "I was very disappointed she didn't win. I expect her to run another big race for us and if she does that, we'll be right there."
While Casse says he still hasn't figured out Tepin's best distance, he is optimistic about her handling the distance on Saturday.
"She's obviously able to run a mile," Casse noted. "She ran one of her best races going 1 1/8 miles, so 1 1/16 miles is well within her grasp."
Leading trainer Chad Brown will be sending a trio of talented horses out to challenge Tepin, headed by Dacita, a Chilean Group 1 champion who is 7-2 on the morning line. She will be making her first start for the stable and first since winning the Group 1 Las Oaks Carlos Hirmas Atala in Chile in December.
"I liked the distance of the [Ballston Spa] and the timing of it. It seems like a good spot to get her started," said Brown. "She's not a terrific work horse in the morning but she works steady. We'll get her started, see where we are at and move forward from there. I'm curious to see what she does."
Brown also sends out third choice Kitten's Queen (4-1), who was most recently seen putting in an impressive performance in the Diana, leading until the final jumps and finishing third.
Danza Cavallo, another Brown trainee, finished 10th in the Grade 3 Waya at 1 ½ miles last time out.
"It was really disappointing in the Waya," remarked Brown. "It was a really slow pace and she fought with the rider quite a bit in the race. She stopped running in the stretch. I want to shorten her up and hope for a quick pace. She was effective at 1 1/16-miles in an allowance race at Keeneland in April. I think the cut back will be fine for her."
Talented French filly New Providence has flown overseas to test her mettle against some of Saratoga's best. New Providence, trained by Hugo Palmer, finished fourth in the Group 3 Lormarins Queens Plate Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse on July 31, and prior to that won the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York Racecourse.
When she steps into the starting gate on Saturday, she will have a familiar face in the saddle, morning exercise rider and jockey Noel Garbutt.
"The rider knows her very well. He's won with her and he rides her at home every morning. He's been riding her in the mornings here too. He's very happy and from the ground up, I'm very happy as well," said assistant Steeve Gaillard.
Rounding out the field are Coffee Clique, most recently victorious in the Grade 3 Dr.  Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing on July 4; My Miss Sophia, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott; Night Song, fifth in the 2014 Ballston Spa, and Solid Appeal, third in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on July 5 at Woodbine.

Source: NYRA Communications


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