04/16/2016 5:59PM

Tepin continues turf dominance in Jenny Wiley

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Jockey Julien Leparoux, aboard Tepin, wins his 50th stakes at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – When it comes to turf racing at Keeneland, the winner is Tepin all the time. Saturday in the Grade 1, $350,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland, she showed the same brilliance that led to victories in the Grade 1 First Lady and Breeders’ Cup Mile on the Keeneland course last fall, wins that earned her a championship as the outstanding turf mare of 2015.

Saturday she did more than win – she ran quickly, completing 1 1/16 miles on a firm grass course in a 1:40.53, eclipsing a stakes record that had stood for over 20 years. Her time was .23 of a second off the course record set by Quiet Resolve in 2000.

Although Tepin didn’t take the lead in the Jenny Wiley until early stretch, the outcome never seemed in doubt. Well placed by regular rider Julien Leparoux, she was relaxed and always within striking distance of early leaders Illuminant and She's Not There.

On the second turn Leparoux allowed Tepin to advance, and once the field entered the stretch, the only lingering question was how large her margin of victory would be. She quickly opened up a lead and cruised by 5 lengths over runner-up Wekeela.

The latter ran well in her first U.S. start after being imported from France, rallying 1 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place Illuminant.

Dacita, who was the last filly to beat Tepin in last summer's Ballston Spa at Saratoga, ran fourth.

Leparoux said Tepin was willing to rate kindly, something she didn’t always do early in her career, when she could get keen. He praised her development, saying, "Every time you ask her to do something, she does something better."

The Jenny Wiley gave Leparoux his 50th stakes win at Keeneland. Only four other riders - Pat Day, Jerry Bailey, Shane Sellers, and Robby Albarado – have done so. He won four races Saturday, including three with Tepin's trainer, Mark Casse.

Casse credited Tepin's owner, Robert Masterson, for keeping her in training as a 5-year-old in 2016 instead of breeding her. "If it wasn’t for him, everybody wouldn't get to see the great Tepin," he said.

Tepin, a daughter of Bernstein, may attempt to extend her dominance beyond North America in a couple months. She has received an invitation to run in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on June 14 at Royal Ascot, a race her connections are eager to try. 

The Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile, a race she won last year, is being considered as a possible prep before heading overseas. That race is on Derby Day, May 7.