11/05/2016 9:21PM

Tourist denies Tepin a repeat win in Breeders' Cup Mile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tourist, with Joel Rosario aboard, wins the Breeders' Cup Mile by half a length Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – When Tourist ran in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, he nearly took a tour of the parking lot on the first turn. Breaking from post 13, he was pushed even farther out around the bend, his race over barely after it had started. Two years later, Tourist and jockey Joel Rosario got the dream vacation package, sailing along inside and in the clear over the lightning-fast Santa Anita grass course and on to victory in the $2 million Mile.

“We went from having the worst trip you can imagine to having the best trip,” said Bill Mott, who won the Mile for the first time in his Hall of Fame training career.

Future Hall of Famer Tepin, who won the 2015 Mile, finished a strong second, coming wide for a stretch rally but falling a half-length short of victory.

“I’m not disappointed,” said trainer Mark Casse. “We would’ve liked to have won, but she showed she’s still got it.”

Tepin’s owner, Robert Masterson, said no decision had yet been made on whether 5-year-old Tepin would continue her racing career. “We still have some things to talk about,” he said.

Midnight Storm, who tracked What a View’s furious pace, held gamely for third, a neck in front of late-running Ironicus, who in turn was a neck better than pace-tracking Miss Temple City. She was followed by Limato, Ring Weekend, Cougar Mountain, Hit It a Bomb, Alice Springs, Spectre, Dutch Connection, Photo Call, and What a View.

Tourist ran one mile in 1:31.71, the fastest Mile in Breeders’ Cup history, and paid $26.80 to win. A son of Tiznow and the Unbridled’s Song mare Unbridled Melody, Tourist was bred by WinStar Farm, which owns him with Adam Wachtel and Gary Barber. Elliott Walden, WinStar’s chief executive, said Tourist probably had run his last race.

“We’re going to talk about it, but when you win a race like that against the best milers in the world, and he’s 5 years old, he’ll probably go off to stud,” Walden said.

Mott’s three previous Breeders’ Cup starters this weekend had come up empty, and while Good Samaritan had a terrible trip when third Friday in the Juvenile Turf, Carina Mia had finished a no-excuse ninth as the favorite in the Filly and Mare Sprint one race before the Mile.

“You start to wonder. You say, ‘I hope they all don’t run like this,’ ” Mott said.

Tourist once had been a free-wheeling, front-running type, but over time he has learned to ration his speed, and after breaking alertly from post 5, he settled into a midpack position racing along the inside. What a View, sent hard from post 1, laid down electric splits of 21.81 seconds for his first quarter-mile and 44.61 to the half, with Midnight Storm two to four lengths behind, his nearest pursuer.

“I thought we might be a little closer, but they were flying on the lead,” Rosario said. “I was just trying to stay there and save some ground, trying not to stop him. I kind of had to grab him just a little bit before turning for home, but after that, I got a clean run.”

Tourist burst past a tired What a View, pushed resolutely forward, overtook Midnight Storm in the final half-furlong, and finished resolutely while probably never even seeing Tepin several paths to his outside.

“I don’t think he was giving an inch,” said Mott. “The pedal was to the metal, and I think he was still giving it when he approached the wire.”

Tepin was giving her all, too, and the filly who beat her in the First Lady last month at Keeneland, Photo Call, beat only one horse in the Mile. “Tepin ran her eyeballs out,” said jockey Julien Leparoux. “She ran a great race. She’s been wonderful for us the whole year, done everything almost perfect.”

Almost, but not quite. No doubt, Tepin has had the better career than Tourist, though Tourist has been unlucky in his own right many times, encountering unsuitable turf conditions, dealing with nagging injuries and tough trips in big races. Reverse the trips Saturday, and maybe Tepin wins.

“I always said it’s the toughest race on the Breeders’ Cup card to win,” said Mott, who this time had good fortune on his side.