Robert Masterson's two-time defending champion turf female Tepin will not make her seasonal bow in the Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (G3T) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs after being treated for a mild bout of colic Feb. 5
Trainer Mark Casse said the 6-year-old daughter of Bernstein trained Sunday, Feb. 5 but "got a little gassy" in the aftermath and had to be treated. The incident was similar to the slight colic issue Tepin had before last year's Endeavour, a race she went on to win by 3 1/2 lengths to kick off her most recent championship campaign.
"She's happy this morning, she is fine. She's done this before," Casse said. "We almost missed this race last year because of it. What happened yesterday was she trained and she came back and got a little gassy. So we went ahead and treated her.
"It's kind of a case where nothing is going ... great. We had missed a work and everything so we're just going to pass (on the Endeavour)."
Casse said that Tepin could return in the one-mile Canadian Turf Handicap (G3T) at Gulfstream Park March 4 and added that, while they have not totally ruled out a trip to the Dubai, it is increasingly unlikely the bay mare will make the venture for the Dubai Turf (G1) at Meydan Racecourse March 25.
"More than likely (we'll pass on Dubai)," Casse said. "I had this coversation with Mr. Masterson yesterday when I called him and told him what was going on and I said 'Look, it's just not working right now'. He said to me 'Do whatever you think is best.' I wouldn't rule (Dubai) out completely but this definitely hurts her chances of going there."
Prior to Sunday's minor setback, Tepin had turned in three timed moves since the start of the New Year including a snappy five-furlong drill in company in :59 4/5 over the turf at Palm Meadows Training Center Feb. 1. She did miss a scheduled work after kicking a wall in her stall and having some foot tenderness but returned to work a bullet four furlongs in :47 4/5 Jan. 22.
Tepin has not raced since running second in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 5. Despite that defeat, the 2015 Breeders' Cup Mile heroine had compiled a brilliant resume in 2016 that saw her win six of eight starts and notch grade/group 1 wins in three countries, and became the first North America-based horse to win the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot last June.
Having to rule Tepin out of the Endeavour capped what was already a disappointing weekend for the Casse barn. On Feb. 4, John Oxley's reigning juvenile champion Classic Empire finished a non-threatening third to Irish War Cry in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream.
Casse reiterated Monday that Classic Empire seemed "irritated" the day of his season debut but added that they were "looking at a lot options" for the colt's next start—though he will likely not run back at Gulfstream.
"Don't count him out," Casse quipped.
Casse added that grade 1 winner Pretty City Dancer, who ran second in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) during her seasonal bow Saturday, came out of her effort in good order and would likely be pointed to the March 4 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream.