Tepin Takes on Boys Again in Saturday's Woodbine Mile

Tepin Takes on Boys Again in Saturday's Woodbine Mile
Photo: Samantha Bussanch/Eclipse Sportswire

The red-hot Tepin, riding a streak of seven consecutive victories, will be a solid favourite when she takes on seven male rivals in Saturday’s 20th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile at Woodbine.

The Ricoh Woodbine Mile, which is scheduled for 6:39 p.m. (ET) and is the centerpiece of a one-hour show beginning at 6 p.m. on TSN2, is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race with the winner receiving a fees-paid berth to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park on November 5.
Tepin won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland last year. Wise Dan is the only horse to have pulled off the Ricoh Woodbine Mile---Breeders’ Cup Mile double, which he accomplished in both 2012 and 2013. 
Owned by Robert Masterson and trained by Mark Casse, Tepin, the 1-2 morning line choice, will be looking to become the second distaffer to win the Woodbine Mile, Ventura having turned the trick in 2009 after finishing second in the previous year’s running.
Tepin’s winning roll, under regular rider Julien Leparoux, had begun prior to the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland’s Grade 1 First Lady. The streak continued in two starts at Tampa Bay Downs and then back through Keeneland and to Churchill Downs before her piece de resistance in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Facing males at a straight mile on soft going and racing without Lasix for the first time, Tepin became the first North American-trained horse to win the June 14 Queen Anne at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting.
Her subsequent path to the Woodbine Mile has not gone exactly to plan as Tepin returned to training at Saratoga and was not her usual self in her first two breezes. Four subsequent trials have indicated that Tepin is back in the groove, however.
The Mile will be Tepin’s first try over the unique Woodbine turf layout but with her 12 wins coming over eight different racetracks she could be expected to take the change of venue in stride.
Tepin drew the No. 8 post at the ceremonial draw for the Woodbine Mile here Wednesday, a slot which delighted assistant trainer Norman Casse.
“It really doesn’t make a difference to her but I’d rather be outside than inside,” said Casse. “It’s the perfect spot.”
Leparoux, winner of the 2011 Woodbine Mile with Turallure and this year’s Queen’s Plate with Sir Dudley Digges, will do the honours on Saturday as Tepin gets a weight concession of three pounds.
European shippers have fared well in recent runnings of the Woodbine Mile with Trade Storm prevailing in 2014 and Mondialiste last year. And three transatlantic travelers will be tackling Tepin as Mutakayyef, Arod and Mr. Owen arrived late Monday evening following a flight from Amsterdam.
Mutakayyef, an English-based 5-year-old, had kept good company while finishing second seven times and third twice in his first nine starts for owner Shadwell Stable and trainer William Haggas.
Mutakayyef, the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, has discovered a winning touch this year, however, as the 5-year-old put together back-to-back stakes scores over one mile of turf with the latter coming in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot.
His subsequent outing underlined his current ability as Mutakayyef finish third, beaten just 2 ¼ lengths, in the Group 1 Juddmonte International over 1 5/16 miles at York.  Postponed, the first-place finisher, was winning his sixth straight stakes--four of the Group 1 variety—and is a solid early favorite for this year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. 
And Mutakayyef’s effort looks even better when considering that he had a troubled run through the stretch, losing his momentum briefly nearing the wire.  Mutakayyef will be the first Canadian starter for Haggas and the first North American appearance for rider Dane O’Neill. Qatar Racing Limited, owners of 2014 Woodbine Mile winner Trade Storm, will be represented by both Arod and Mr. Owen.
Mutakayeff will begin from post 2, which should suit his tracking style. 
Arod (10-1 in the morning line), a 5-year-old horse trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, won last year’s Summer Mile and then finished second to the top-notch Solow in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes.
Although winless in four appearances this year, Arod appears to have hit his best stride with a last-out third-place finish in the Group 1 Celebration Mile at Goodwood. 
Arod drew post 3, which was just fine with his traveling head lad Gary Hindmarch, particularly when considering that his horse looks to be the clear speed of the field.
“He’ll be going to the lead, and he won’t have to use as much speed to get there,” said Hindmarch.
Mr. Owen (15-1), who ended sixth, beaten 4 ¾ lengths as a 3-year-old facing older horses in last year’s Woodbine Mile, checks back in from France for trainer Francois Rohaut.  The Pennsylvania-bred colt is coming off a good second-place finish behind Vadamos in the Group 3 Prix Messidor over one mile at Maisons-Lafitte. Vadamos came back to capture the Group 1 Prix de Moulin over seven furlongs at Chantilly last Sunday.
Jamie Spencer, winner of the Woodbine Mile aboard Trade Storm, gets the mount from post 7.
Full Mast (12-1), who began his career in Europe before relocating to the United States, is this year’s lone Woodbine Mile shipper from south of the border.
Owned by Juddmonte Farm Inc., Full Mast had finished second to Gleneagles and was awarded the top spot via disqualification in the 2014 running of the Group 1 Prix Gran Criterium at Longchamp. Gleneagles went on to win three Group 1 stakes the following year. Full Mast, however, made just two appearances in 2015 and was sent to trainer Bill Mott in New York where his new career began promisingly with a smart win in allowance company at Belmont this June. Mott won the inaugural running of the Woodbine Mile in 1997 with Geri and Juddmonte was the owner of Ventura.
Full Mast drew the 5-hole and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Rounding out the field will be locally-based Tower of Texas (post 1), Glenville Gardens (post 4) and Passion for Action (post 6).
Tower of Texas (20-1), trained by Roger Attfield, was injured while on the verge of making his seasonal bow in Florida this winter and had a late start to his campaign. 
“He’s doing fine now,” said Attfield. “He had a little gallop over the turf this morning.”
Assistant trainer Ally Walker was in the irons as Tower of Texas breezed three furlongs in :36.20 and galloped out four furlongs in :48.
The Ontario-bred 5-year-old gelding, who recorded his first stakes win here in the King Edward last year, had ended a good third in that event when making his first start of this year on July 2.
Tower of Texas, who will be reunited with pilot Eurico Rosa da Silva in the Mile for owners Thomas Van Meter II and Scott Dilworth, has since dropped close decisions as the runner-up in both the 6 1/2 furlong Play the King prep and the Grade 2, seven- furlong Play the King on the grass this summer.
The winner on both occasions was the unsung Glenville Gardens (20-1), a $40,000 claim by trainer Sid Attard for his wife, Janice, here last September.
The Kentucky-bred 4-year-old gelding won his first two starts off the claim, including the Labeeb Stakes over one mile of yielding going, and then was beaten two lengths when making his 2016 bow in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf.  Glenville Gardens has been unbeatable since then, capturing a $40,000 starter allowance at seven furlongs on the turf prior to his recent narrow conquests of Tower of Texas.  Gary Boulanger, in tow for the Glenville Gardens triple, will be back in the irons.
“He’s pretty easy to ride,” said Boulanger. “He positions himself. My target will be Tepin and hopefully he kicks on like he has been. He’s a very determined little horse.”
Passion for Action (20-1) ran fourth in the Play the King, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, when coming off a seven-week layoff. 
“I tried to give him a little break and I think I babied him a bit,” said DePaulo. ‘The pace didn’t help him, either--:23, :46.”
Owned and bred by Ben Hutzel, the 4-year-old colt was in career form earlier this year when capturing the six-furlong Jacques Cartier and Grade 3, seven-furlong Vigil on the main track and the Grade 2 six-furlong Highlander on the turf.
Luis Contreras, who has ridden Passion for Action to three of his six career wins for trainer Mike DePaulo, returns to the irons.
The stakes record time for the Woodbine Mile is 1:31.75, set by two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan in 2013, eclipsing the former mark of 1:32.04 by Ventura in 2009 when she became the first and only filly/mare to win the race.  
Five favourites have won the Mile in its first 18 editions - Soaring Free in 2004, Leroidesanimaux in 2005, Shakespeare in 2007 and Wise Dan in 2012 and 2013.
Four horses which raced in the Woodbine Mile have won the Breeders’ Cup Mile.  In addition to Wise Dan (2012-13), the others are 2007 Woodbine Mile runner-up Kip Deville and 1999 fifth-place finisher Silic, who both went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile the same year. Court Vision, who won the 2010 Woodbine Mile, captured the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile.  
Five other Woodbine Mile winners - Geri (1997), Touch of the Blues (2003), Leroidesanimaux (2005), Turallure (2011) and Mondialiste (2015) - went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile the same year.
The Ricoh Woodbine Mile caps an incredible weekend of four Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ stakes, all contested on the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.  Earlier on Saturday, the Grade 2 $300,000 Canadian Stakes, a mile and one-eighth contest for fillies and mares, will be headed by defending champion Strut the Course and the Chad Brown trained invader Dacita.
Also featured on Saturday’s card, although not a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race, is the Grade 1 $300,000 Northern Dancer, presented by HPIBet.com, at one and one-half miles on the turf for three-year-olds and upward.

Sunday’s card at Woodbine features two Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races for two-year-olds - the Grade 1 $250,000 Natalma Stakes for fillies and the Grade 2 $200,000 Summer Stakes, both at one mile.
Post time for the first of 12 races on Saturday is 1:00 pm. The card offers two outstanding Pick 4 guaranteed pools - $150,000 in the early one and $250,000 in the late one. Saturday's early Pick 5 comes with a $50,000 guarantee and a special Late Pick 5 boasts a minimum $100,000 pool.  Both the Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers start with a $0.20 minimum. For more information, visit HPIBet.com.
Horse/Owner/Trainer/Jockey / ML ODDS
Tower of Texas / Thomas F. Van Meter II & Scott Dilworth / Roger Attfield / Eurico Rosa da Silva / 20-1
Mutakayyef / Shadwell Stable / William J. Haggas / Dane O'Neill / 7-2
Arod / Qatar Racing Limited / Peter Chapple-Hyam / Oisin Murphy / 10-1
Glenville Gardens / Janice Attard / Sid Attard / Gary Boulanger / 20-1
Full Mast / Juddmonte Farms / William Mott / Joel Rosario / 12-1
Passion for Action / Benjamin Hutzel / Mike DePaulo / Luis Contreras / 20-1
Mr. Owen / Qatar Racing Limited / Francois Rohaut / Jamie Spencer / 15-1
Tepin / Robert E. Masterson / Mark Casse / Julien Leparoux / 1-2
Source: Woodbine Communications Office

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