Reigning champion turf female Tepin will bypass the Aug. 13 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course and is now possible to face fellow grade I winner Lady Eli in the Aug. 27 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa (gr. IIT).
Trainer Mark Casse said the 5-year-old daughter of Bernstein was ‘fine’ physically but had a couple ‘blah days’ this week and they opted not to breeze her as planned this weekend.
The one-mile Fourstardave was slated to be Tepin’s first start since becoming the first U.S.-based horse to capture the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot on June 14.
“We said all along that everything had to go perfect for us to (make the Fourstardave),” Casse said. “When we went to Royal Ascot, we never planned on bringing her back that quickly. Then when we got to looking at it we said ‘well, maybe’ but everything had to go right.
“She had a couple blah days this week, enough so that we didn’t get to lead up to this weekend the way we wanted. We had planned on breezing her tomorrow (July 30) which would have been a big work for her. And we just felt she wasn’t ready to do that yet. So now we’ll just kind of sit back and we’re still looking at the Ballston Spa.”
Tepin raced in the 1 1/16-miles Ballston Spa last season when she was caught right on the wire and beaten a head by Chad Brown-trainee Dacita. Brown also trains unbeaten Lady Eli, who is under consideration for the Ballston Spa as her comeback race after being stricken with laminitis last summer following her victory in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT).
Casse said the Sept. 17 Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) remains a target for Tepin.
“If there is a way to get there, that is a big target,” Casse said. “In the beginning, we never even planned on the Ballston Spa, then we put that on the map. There could be a possibility if we pass the Ballston Spa that we got right into the Mile.”
Owned by Robert Masterson and bred by Machmer Hall, Tepin has won seven straight races since her defeat in the Ballston Spa last summer, including her victory in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland last Oct. 31. The bay mare has won 12 of 20 career outings with earnings of $3,563,838.