03/16/2016 2:30PM

Tepin sharp again

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The margin of victory was only a length, but TEPIN was miles the best in last Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares at nine furlongs over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course.

Tepin, profiled in-depth in the October 7, 2015 (http://www.drf.com/blogs/tepin-breeders-cup-mile) edition of FormBlog, enjoyed a huge season last year. She compiled a record of 7-5-1-0, grabbed three Grade 1 races including the Breeders' Cup Mile against males, scored at Gulfstream, Churchill, Belmont and Keeneland, and came within a head and a nose from being undefeated for the entire campaign.

Deservingly, she was named champion female turf runner and the announcement that she would return to the races in 2016 was met with great excitement.

Now 5, Tepin beat a good field in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes last month at Tampa Bay and was heavily-favored to land the Hillsborough despite being asked to stretch her ability to nine furlongs. That distance had proved elusive in the past as Tepin's prior record at the trip was 3-0-1-0. Many observers believe that the mare is best at a flat mile.

There appeared to be a decent amount of speed signed on for the Hillsborough, but ISABELLA SINGS erased any doubt on who would occupy the role of pacesetter in the first five strides. Vigorously sent to the lead by John Velazquez, the Todd Pletcher-trained Isabella Sings, winner of the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere for 3-year-old fillies last fall at Churchill, opened up an 18-length lead after a half-mile in a swift 45.95. It was a heady move by Velazquez, who guessed that his best chance of upsetting the favorite was to take a big edge and hope that Tepin wouldn't stay the distance.

"Todd (Pletcher) said to me ‘When she (Isabella Sings) breaks, drop your hands down and let her go as fast as she can," Velazquez told track publicity following the Hillsborough. "That’s her weapon.’ So I didn’t take a hold of her and let her do her own thing."

Meanwhile, Julien Leparoux was stuck between a rock and a hard place aboard Tepin. If he moved too soon in attempting to erode Isabella Sing's advantage, Tepin's kick could be compromised. If he waited too long, Isabella Sings would be gone. Leparoux put his trust in the mare and he rode the champion with confidence into the turn. Isabella Sings still had a big lead with three-sixteenths to run, but Tepin extended her stride, caught Isabella Sings under mere hands-and-heels urging, and went by under her own power. Tepin stopped the teletimer in track record time of 1:46.26 and received a 107 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I knew (Isabella Sings) was going fast, but when that happens, you almost have to not pay attention to the one in front," Leparoux said. "Johnny (Velazquez) came back a little at the half-mile pole, but my horse had to fight hard today, which is good. I didn’t whip her because I could feel she was running for me. She had to have a big race to win, and she did.”


Despite the good pace up front, none of the closers made an impact. Grade 1 winner BALL DANCING, unraced since Belmont Stakes Day, finished an even eighth while stablemate and Grade 1-placed performer DANZA CAVALLO ran a punchless sixth. Grade 3 winners BUTTON DOWN (fifth) and RAINHA DA BATERIA (seventh) were also invisible.

Tepin will likely make her next start at Keeneland. The Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile against males on April 15 is a possibility as is the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley versus fellow fillies and mares six days earlier. If trainer Mark Casse opts for the former, Tepin will probably face a strong challenge from the razor-sharp HEART TO HEART.


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Here are the top 25 WINNING Beyer Speed Figures from 3/8/16 - 3/14/16:

1. TEPIN - 107 - Hillsborough Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - 12Mar16-10TAM
2. MELATONIN - 106 - Santa Anita Handicap (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - 12Mar16-10SA
2. WHAT A VIEW - 106 - Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) - 1 Mile (Turf) - 12Mar16-6SA
4. SALUTOS AMIGOS - 104 - Tom Fool Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 12Mar16-8AQU
5. SEND IT IN - 103 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile 70 Yards (Inner Dirt) - 12Mar16-5AQU
6. DANZING CANDY - 100 - San Felipe Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Mar16-7SA
6. DESTIN - 100 - Tampa Bay Derby (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Mar16-11TAM
8. POWER ALERT (AUS) - 99 - Silks Run Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 12Mar16-7GP
9. KOBE'S BACK - 98 - San Carlos Stakes (G2) - 7 Furlongs - 12Mar16-9SA
9. MISS MATZOBALL - 98 - Captive Island Handicap - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - 12Mar16-11GP
11. CONQUEST TYPHOON - 97 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 12Mar16-9GP
11. UNBRIDLED JUAN - 97 - Alw 38000N1X - 1 Mile - 13Mar16-9GP
11. TURCO BRAVO (CHI) - 97 - Stymie Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Dirt) - 13Mar16-8AQU
14. APOLOGYNOTACCEPTED - 96 - Md Sp Wt 36k - 6 Furlongs - 11Mar16-8GP
14. GENEROSIDADE (URU) - 96 - San Luis Rey Stakes (G2) - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) - 13Mar16-8SA
14. MAKING HAVOC - 96 - OC 62k/N2X - 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) - 10Mar16-8AQU
17. DOYOUKNOWSOMETHING - 94 - OC 40k/N1X -N - 1 1/4 Miles - 10Mar16-6SA
17. ZIPESSA - 94 - OC 40k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 14Mar16-9FG
19. ILLUMINANT - 93 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 10Mar16-7SA
20. ADIRONDACK KING - 92 - Challenger Stakes - 1 1/16 Miles - 12Mar16-3TAM
20. SEVENTH SENSE (TUR) - 92 - Md Sp Wt 58k - 6 1/2 Furlongs - 12Mar16-5SA
22. CALI THIRTY SEVEN - 91 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - 13Mar16-11GP
22. ENDURANCE - 91 - Alw 23000NC - 7 Furlongs - 8Mar16-11HOU
22. GENTLEMAN'S HONOR - 91 - Clm c-(12.5-10)N2Y - 1 1/16 Miles - 13Mar16-6OP
22. NATCHEZ - 91 - Alw 79000N3L - 1 Mile - 12Mar16-6OP

*TEPIN's lifetime past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.

*GENTLEMAN'S HONOR was claimed for $12,500 by trainer Allen Milligan from Robertino Diodoro.

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Video stakes analyses for many of the weekend's major stakes will be available later this week at http://www.drf.com/videos

You can follow me on Twitter @DRF_DanIllman.

Matt Bernier and I will be on for free and fun live handicapping analysis for Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Gulfstream and more beginning at 3pm ET on live.drf.com.


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Congrats to fijiking for winning last week's HandiGambling challenge.

Let's go with Saturday's Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn for this week's exercise.

PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.

Rick M and SR VEGAS' HG scoreboard spreadsheet is available at the bottom of this blog post.

SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to update all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

HANDIGAMBLING version 2016:

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place.

The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but SPARE A SENTENCE OR TWO outlining your HANDICAPPING ANGLES and/or THOUGHT PROCESSES about WAGERING .

1. Start your post with HG or HANDIGAMBLING to find your entry in a thread.

2. You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose that is available for that HG race. Anyone going over the $100 limit will be DISQUALIFIED.

3. Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog prior to the start of the designated race. SIGN OFF WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF YOUR POST. Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST SIGN YOURSELF AT THE END (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to identify who you are.

4. (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes. Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

5. Separate your analysis from the wager and use the PROGRAM # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

**  In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

** The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2016
The speed in this race are #1 Alpha, #2 Beta, and #8 Ocho. I like the works for layoff horse #5 Cinco who can sit off the pace. Lots of speed in here, so this could set up for a closer like  #6 Six Flags and I like the trainer's stats in these conditions. I’ll put the closer over the speed.

HG wager:
$10 EX   6 /   1,2,5, 8  = $40
$5 TRI   6 /   1,2,5,8  /  1,2,5,8  =  $60
Total $100

Thanks Dan!
Harpo

A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS  IS  ALWAYS  APPRECIATED !

REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A SATURDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

AttachmentSize
TEPIN.pdf757.13 KB
Copy of HG 3 12 16 Tampa Bay Derby TAM.xls51 KB
HGREBEL.pdf190.43 KB