01/06/2017 12:10PM

2016 Eclipse Awards: Miss Temple City

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Take that, boys.

Twice in 2016, Miss Temple City beat males in Grade 1 races on turf at Keeneland – the Maker’s 46 Mile in April and the Shadwell Turf Mile in October.

Add a hard-fought win in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes against fillies and mares at a mile on turf at Del Mar on Dec. 4, and Miss Temple City compiled a record that earned her a place among the three finalists for the Eclipse Award as outstanding turf female of 2016.

Miss Temple City won 3 of 7 starts and earned $1,070,239 in 2016 for the partnership of The Club Racing, Allen Rosenblum, and Sagamore Farm and trainer Graham Motion. Miss Temple City ran in three states – California, Kentucky, and New York – and made one overseas trip, for England’s Royal Ascot meeting in June.

:: Eclipse Awards: 2016 finalists with profiles

Miss Temple City, bred by Bobfeld Bloodstock, was accomplished at 2 and 3 in 2014 and 2015. At 3, she was a stakes winner at Pimlico and second in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland that fall.

In 2016, Miss Temple City rose to an entirely higher level of competition.

Miss Temple City was 6-1 in a field of nine in the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in her first start of the year in April. She was always well-placed in the race and won by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

The trip to Royal Ascot was familiar territory. In 2015, Miss Temple City was fourth in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, beaten two lengths. In 2016, the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf was chosen.

Miss Temple City finished fourth under jockey Ryan Moore, but she was unlucky. Miss Temple City was steadied at the start and raced in traffic at a pivotal point before finishing 3 1/4 lengths behind winner Usherette and a length behind third-place finisher Always Smile.

Troubled trips seemed to be the theme of the summer. Miss Temple City had a rough Saratoga meeting. She was fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes on July 23, beaten just a neck after racing in traffic in early stretch. A month later, Miss Temple City was fifth behind Strike Charmer in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes after another troubled trip.

Those losses left Motion debating between the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile or the $400,000 First Lady Stakes against fillies and mares on Oct. 8 at Keeneland. In the end, the more lucrative race was selected. Miss Temple City was always near the front and finished a head in front of Ironicus, with Tourist a half-length behind the runner-up in third.

“She’s the best filly I’ve ever trained,” Motion said after the Shadwell Turf Mile. “She’s spectacular. My frustration was over the summer when it seemed we got a little lost with her. She had some tough trips.

“She’s a very special filly. I think she’s been on form all summer. It’s just been frustrating that she hasn’t been able to show it on the racetrack.”

Miss Temple City ended her 2016 season with two starts in California. She was a 22-1 shot when fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Tourist. Miss Temple City was within a length of the lead with a furlong remaining, but could not sustain the effort.

In the Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar, she won a thriller by a nose, over Roca Rojo, grabbing the lead in the final stride. A championship-caliber season had ended with a win.