11/06/2017 8:00PM

Fasig November: Champion Tepin headed to Ireland after $8-million sale

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Fasig-Tipton
Tepin, who counted the Breeders' Cup Mile and Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot among her victories, sold in front of a packed house at Fasig-Tipton Monday night.

Tepin earned the moniker "queen of the turf" for a well-traveled career that took her as far as the winner's enclosure at England's renowned Royal Ascot meeting. Her promising career as a broodmare will now take her across the pond again.

A two-time Eclipse Award champion, Tepin sold for $8 million to the international Coolmore operation Monday night at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale. The operation's representative M.V. Magnier said the Bernstein mare would join Coolmore's broodmare band in Ireland, and would be bred to its international titan Galileo in 2018.

Tepin sold carrying her first foal, to the cover of Curlin. She was consigned by the nascent Elite Sales of Bradley Weisbord and Liz Crow on behalf of owner Robert Masterson, who does not maintain a broodmare band or breeding operation.

"My interest and my love of the sport lies in racing, and my family and I have decided to sell her because we wanted her breeding career to be nurtured by someone who loves that aspect of the business as much as I love the racing aspect," Masterson said.

A beaming Masterson almost immediately cornered Magnier after he signed the sale ticket for Tepin in a crowded back walking ring at Fasig-Tipton.

"It's a good deal for both of us," Masterson told the buyer. "I hope you do well with her."

Tepin began her career on dirt, on which she was successful enough to win the Grade 3 Delta Princess in 2013. Her first starts on turf as a 3-year-old were marked by troubled trips. She came roaring out of the gate as a 4-year-old and never looked back, finishing first or second in each of her 15 starts over her two championship campaigns, and only once being beaten more than half a length.

Tepin won her first three starts of 2015, including the Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes at Belmont, before suffering a pair of tough beats at Saratoga, losing by a nose to Hard Not to Like's course record-setting performance in the Grade 1 Diana, and a head to Dacita in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. She bounced back to win the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland by seven lengths, earning a shot against males in the Breeders' Cup Mile on the same course. She defeated Mondialiste by 2 1/4 lengths, locking up her first Eclipse.

Tepin had been entered for that year's renewal of Fasig-Tipton November, which took place the day after the Mile, but Masterson elected to withdraw his star mare and continue to race her.

"He enjoys [racing] and he was always pretty clear - you always know where you stand with a guy like Bat," Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said. "He said, 'I'm gonna run her as long as I can. I'm having the time of my life.'"

Tepin's 2016 spring campaign was highlighted by a victory in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the renowned Royal Ascot meeting. She became the first American-based horse to win the prestigious event, in which she had to contend with soft ground on a straight course, and was not permitted to run with Lasix. She is just the fourth horse to win both a Breeders' Cup race and the Queen Anne, a group that also includes three-time Mile winner Goldikova. Barathea won both races in 1994; Kalanisi won the Queen Anne and Breeders' Cup Turf in 2000.

"What I will remember most is the experience of doing the impossible - traveling to Ascot and racing under totally unfamiliar conditions and doing something no American horse had done, beating the best milers in Europe on their home turf - was something that may never be replicated," Masterson said. "Then, to be congratulated in person by the Queen created a moment for me and my family which was unimaginable to us."

After a summer freshening, Tepin returned to win the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. But she finished second in her repeat attempt in the First Lady, unable to reel in pace-setting Photo Call, and second by half a length to Tourist in the Breeders' Cup Mile. After not showing enthusiasm for training early this year, Tepin's retirement was announced in April. She sported a record of 23-13-5-1, highlighted by her six Grade/Group 1 wins, and earnings of $4,437,918

“I have trained some Breeders' Cup winners and champions, but there is no doubt this is the best horse I ever trained,” Mark Casse said. “She came with her ‘A’ game at 10 different racetracks, under every possible surface and condition, including wins on turf, dirt, and synthetic. It is a special feeling leading one over knowing they are going to run big. We felt that every time with Tepin.”

As with fellow champion Songbird, offered just a few minutes prior, bidding on Tepin opened at seven figures before a crowd of well-wishers that included jockey Julien Leparoux and several members of Casse's staff - including his son and soon-to-be-former assistant, Norman. The younger Casse raced down Kentucky's I-64 to Lexington to arrive in time after his flight home to Louisville from the Breeders' Cup landed about two hours prior.

All told, Tepin was in the ring for less than five minutes as a determined M.V. Magnier, representing Coolmore, slugged it out against multiple underbidders.

"It's a lot of money, but she's a good racehorse," said Magnier, who nodded that Coolmore had had its eye on this mare for quite some time. "She was a good 2-year-old, and she was good up to the age of 5. She's unbelievable, what she did on the track."

Tepin, bred by Machmer Hall, was a $140,000 purchase by Masterson out of the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale. She is our of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened, a two-time finalist for Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, and the dam of graded-stakes-winning millionaire Vyjack and graded-stakes-placed Prime Cut.

Curlin, who stands at Hill 'n' Dale, is the sire of a classic winner or classic-placed runner from each of his first five crops, led by 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and 2016 Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator. Although the stallion raced primarily on dirt and Tepin found her best footing on turf, the two have shown crossover potential. Tepin was a Grade 3 winner on dirt as a juvenile; Curlin was second to Breeders' Cup Turf winner Red Rocks in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes on turf. Curlin is also by prominent turf sire Smart Strike.

"She won on dirt, she was a good horse on dirt, but we moved her to the grass and never went back," Casse said. "She was just a great horse. It didn't really matter. We could have ran backwards. I'm sure if they had swimming races, she probably would have won that, too."