LEXINGTON, KY (April 16, 2016) – Robert Masterson’s reigning North American champion turf female Tepin cruised to a five-length victory in stakes-record time to win the 28th running of the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) for fillies and mares before a Saturday afternoon crowd of 38,863.
Saturday’s attendance was the largest Coolmore Day figure in track history and third-largest non-Breeders’ Cup mark at Keeneland. The record of 40,617 was established on Toyota Blue Grass Day on April 14, 2012, with the second-largest (39,722) coming on April 12, 2014, also a Toyota Blue Grass Day.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Tepin covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:40.53, breaking the stakes record of 1:40 3/5 established in 1996 by Apolda.
Illuminant and She’s Not Here alternated for the early lead in fractions of :23.39 and :46.89 with Tepin waiting back in third. Approaching the far turn, Leparoux sent Tepin past Illuminant and took dead aim on She’s Not Here, quickly disposing of her and racing unchallenged to the wire.
The victory was worth $210,000 and increased Tepin’s earnings to $2,895,973 with a record of 18-10-3-1. Tepin is undefeated in three races over the Keeneland turf course with other victories coming in the First Lady (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) here last fall.
Tepin is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein out of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened.
It was the third victory in the race for Leparoux, who became the fifth rider in Keeneland history to win 50 stakes. He trails only Pat Day (95), Jerry Bailey (54), Shane Sellers (53) and Robby Albarado (51). Leparoux also won this race on Forever Together in 2009 and Centre Court in 2013.
Tepin returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Wekeela (FR), who rallied for second under Gary Stevens, returned $5 and $4.40 with Illuminant finishing 1½ lengths back in third under Flavien Prat and paying $5.80 to show.
Dacita (CHI) was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Recepta, Tiger Ride, She’s Not Here, Itsonlyactingdad and Akatea (IRE).
The 16-day Spring Meet hits the halfway mark Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at
1:05 p.m. ET. Highlighting the card is the 31st running of the $150,000 Adena Springs Beaumont (G3) for 3-year-old fillies to be run over the Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet. Post time for the Adena Springs Beaumont, the afternoon’s eighth race, is 4:57.
Quotes for the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1)
Mark Casse (winning trainer of Tepin)
On whether he feels pressure since everyone expects Tepin to perform so well
“A touch. But I have to say something. (Owner) Mr. (Robert) Masterson – if it wasn’t for him – everybody wouldn’t get to see the great Tepin. He wanted to let her run another year (rather than being retired). It puts a little pressure on us. I love it.
“But I just don’t want to let her down. It’s hard.”
Julien Leparoux (winning rider)
On what it’s like to ride a mare like Tepin
“It makes my job easier. She’s amazing. She can do whatever we want. I didn’t think there was going to be that much pace today, so I was planning on sitting second. But when I saw (other horses) going (to the lead), I just sat back there. On the backside, she started to get going. She’s amazing. Every time you ask her to do something, she does even better. It’s great.”
Gary Stevens (rider of runner-up Wekeela [FR])
“Tepin was awesome; my filly was awesome in her first performance in America. (She) completely missed the break. She was just in there enjoying all the scenery and kinda clued me in that she wasn’t going to break well, like most French horses. So my plan got thrown out the door. I was gonna sit right behind Julien (Leparoux on Tepin) and see if I could outkick her. Let’s face it: I wasn’t going to beat her whether I got away good today or not, but I could have given (my filly) a much easier race. (Wekeela) is a quality filly and she’ll win her share of Grade 1s.”
Flavien Prat (rider of third-place finisher Illuminant)
“I had a good trip. When the horse (pacesetter She’s Not Here) came on the outside of me, I let her go, and so that way mine got a breather. She ran great. She’s a really nice filly. She can run longer if they want.”
Javier Castellano (rider of fourth-place finisher Dacita [CHI])
“I had a beautiful trip. (The race) set up perfect today. They went pretty quick: (23.39, :46.89). That’s pretty quick and my filly comes from behind. I saved all the ground on the first turn. Turning for home, I let her go outside and I tried to find a kick, but she just didn’t have it today.”