12,989 2079 1,927 1,728 $116,237,365 16 % 45 %
2016 - to June 1
898 143 143 130 $10,626,178 17 % 45 %

Tepin topples males again in Woodbine Mile
Ron Gierknk, DRF
Michael Burns
Tepin, under Julien Leparoux, wins her eighth straight race in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario—The incomparable Tepin beat the boys again in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile, holding off 23-1 shot Tower of Texas under Julien Leparoux to win the 20th running of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In qualifier.

Glenville Gardens set quick fractions of 23.39 and 46.41 seconds, while being stalked by Full Mast and Arod. After breaking from the outside post 8, Tepin ($2.90) took up the chase in fourth on the backstretch. She made a three-wide bid into contention on the turn, hit the front early in the stretch, and then opened up a daylight lead before holding sway to prevail by a half-length, in a time of 1:34.13 over the “good” ground.

Tower of Texas closed from sixth to edge out 3-1 second choice Mutakayyef.  Full Mast finished fourth, and was followed by Arod, Mr. Owen, Glenville Gardens and Passion for Action.

It was the eighth straight win for the Robert Masterson-owned Tepin, who hadn’t raced since her memorable score over males in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot in June.

“We had a good post,” said winning jockey Julien Leparoux. “She broke good, and relaxed. She was traveling well the whole way.  I could do whatever I wanted. I sat on the outside, and just waited to make a kick at the end. She got a bit tired at the end, but we expected that. I think she’s going to get better, fitter, after this race. She had been off for three months. No matter how many times you breeze her, a race is a race. That’s how you get fit. It was a race to help her get ready for the next one.”

Norm Casse, assistant and son of trainer Mark Casse, said Tepin will run back at Keeneland on Oct. 8 in either the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile or the Grade 1 First Lady, whichever one is easier. That will be her final prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile in November at Santa Anita, which she won last year when it was staged at Keeneland.

“She’ll go to Churchill,” said Norm Casse. “If we waited until the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, we’d have to breeze her over and over on the main track at Churchill, and I don’t know if we’re really 100 percent comfortable with that. It’s better when she runs all the time. She’ll probably come back and have an easy work. We’ll pick out a race at Keeneland, and she’ll be ready to go.”

Victory to Victory gives Casse seventh Natalma Stakes victory
Ron Gierkink, DRF
Michael Burns
Victory to Victory, ridden by Florent Geroux, earns a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf by winning the Natalma by 2 1/2 lengths.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario—Victory to Victory punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with a determined come-from-behind score under Florent Geroux in the Grade 1 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday.

A hot pace, set by Will She, materialized in the one-mile turf event. With blinkers added, Victory to Victory ($17.70) raced in sixth on the outside for much of the way, and then made up ground to hit the front around the three-sixteenths pole.

Stormy Perfection closed strongly on the outside from 11th to take dead aim at Victory to Victory in midstretch, but Victory to Victory repelled the bid and went on to prevail by 2 1/2 lengths, in a time of 1:35.24 over the firm ground.

Beat the Benchmark finished third, and Thora Barber was fourth. Red Lodge, the 7-2 favorite, stalked in second before fading to 12th, and 4-1 second choice Enstone trailed the 14-horse field.

Geroux won last year’s Natalma on the future Canadian champion Catch a Glimpse for trainer Mark Casse, and Victory to Victory gave Casse a record seventh win in the event.

“It helps to know when your horse is pretty much push-button,” said Geroux. “She broke very sharply from the gate. From there, I took a nice position, without taking any bumping. She settled very nicely, and turning for home, she gave me a very nice kick. The blinkers helped today. It made the difference. She [ran] spotty in her first two races.”

Assistant trainer Norm Casse said Victory to Victory would likely run back in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Santa Anita, since she earned a paid trip to the race in the Natalma.

“We’ll have to see how she comes out of the race, but I’d have to think that’s what the goal is,” said Casse. “We think she’s a really talented horse. She was well-meant from the very beginning. At Churchill, we thought enough of her to send her to Saratoga. As Florent alluded to, she was spotty early on, and I think the blinkers made a big difference. We knew she was a talented horse, and she’s finally starting to figure things out.”

Sweet Loretta, Pretty City Dancer hit wire together in Spinaway
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainers Todd Pletcher and Mark Casse met en route to the winner’s circle as the photo sign blinked after their 2-year-old fillies Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer hit the finish line simultaneously at the end of Saturday’s Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.
Barbara D. Livingston
Sweet Loretta (1) and Pretty City Dancer, well clear of the rest of the field, finish in a dead heat in the seven-furlong Spinaway.
“Todd asked me if I would take a dead heat and I said I would,” said Casse. “And he agreed.”
And sure enough, that’s exactly what they got. But that wasn’t the end of the drama. Shortly before the unofficial order of finish was posted, the stewards also posted the inquiry sign, looking into the stretch run after Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer engaged in a bumping duel as they approached the wire.
But in the end, to almost nobody’s surprise, the stewards allowed the final result to stand. With Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer both becoming Grade 1 winners, the pair checking home 5 3/4 lengths clear of Cherry Lodge, who tired steadily to finish third as the even-money favorite.
Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer both benefitted from a lively pace, set by Runway Doll and pressed by Cherry Lodge. Sweet Loretta was the first to strike, rallying three wide to take command in early stretch. She edged clear near the furlong grounds, then dug in gamely after appearing to relinquish a short advantage in the shadow of the wire.          
Pretty City Dancer bobbled briefly at the break, raced wide while within striking distance on the turn, lugged in while failing to switch off her left lead down the stretch, stuck her head in front briefly a few yards from the finish line before settling for the dead heat.
Sweet Loretta, winner of the Grade 3 Schuylerville on opening day, paid $4.90. Pretty City Dancer, winner of the Debutante at Churchill Downs in her previous start, returned $5.60.  Final time for seven furlongs over the fast track was a relatively slow 1:24.18.
“I thought she was going to get there, and then she kind of laid in,” said Casse, who trains Pretty City Dancer for John Oxley. “I thought we won, then I thought we got beat watching the replay. She’s a nice horse, and I think she’ll get better as she runs further. Obviously having the previous experience she had helped. It’s something we strive to do early on, and in this case it worked out.”     
Pletcher said he thought Sweet Loretta got a pretty good head bob, but still wasn’t sure whether he had won or not.
“The race was similar to [Friday] when we had a filly with Mark Casse that exchanged bumps pretty good, and I figured if they didn’t change that one, they wouldn’t change this one, especially with the dead heat,” said Pletcher, who trains Sweet Loretta for the St. Elias Stable. “Cherry Lodge looked like she got a little bit tired after getting a little too keen early. The two most seasoned horses finished one-two. We saw the trend all day. There is no substitute for experience, especially in seven-furlong races for 2-year-olds.”