04/18/2017 12:39PM

Two-time Eclipse winner Tepin retired

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Barbara D. Livingston
Tepin retires as a two-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding turf female.

The two-time champion turf mare Tepin has been retired, with her connections citing a lack of enthusiasm in her recent training.

"Tepin took us places and achieved things we had only dreamt about," said Norm Casse, chief assistant to his father, Mark Casse.

The elder Casse trained Tepin throughout her career, with Norm Casse overseeing a good deal of the mare’s daily care with the stable’s Churchill Downs and Saratoga strings.

"We will be forever grateful,"  Norm Casse said.

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Tepin concludes her career with a record of 23-13-5-1, including nine Grade 1/Group 1 wins or placings in three countries, and earnings of $4,437,918. She earned Eclipse Awards as outstanding turf female in both 2015 and 2016.

“She's been outstanding, and the only thing she ever wants in return is peppermints,” owner Robert Masterson said in accepting Tepin’s second Eclipse in January.

The news of Tepin’s retirement was first reported by Masterson, speaking to Thoroughbred Daily News. He said Tepin will not be bred this year, with the breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere already more than halfway over. The mare will remain at Churchill Downs for the time being.

Masterson intended to race Tepin as a 6-year-old in 2017, with trips to Dubai and Royal Ascot among his mentioned goals. However, the mare's schedule was pushed back when she suffered a minor bout of colic in February. She then refused to break off for a work on March 27. After not showing "the same desire," Mark Casse said, upon returning to her home base at Churchill Downs, Tepin was retired, though she remains sound and healthy.

Tepin won the Grade 3 Delta Princess Stakes on dirt as a juvenile. She was moved to turf the following year and blossomed during the spring of her 4-year-old season in 2015, taking the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile and Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes to stamp herself as a rising star in the division.

“We knew all along we were going to try her on grass because of her pedigree and the way she ran on the Poly,” Norm Casse, said at the time of the Just a Game. “We thought her turn of foot would be more effective on grass, and it has been.”

After narrow defeats in 2015 at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes and Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes, Tepin returned to her winning ways with a seven-length score in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland, kicking off an eight-race win streak. The First Lady earned her a try in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile against males at Keeneland, and she won by 2 1/2 lengths to lock up her first Eclipse.

After starting 2016 by winning the Grade 3 Endeavour and Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay, the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland, and repeating in the Distaff Mile back home at Churchill, Tepin traveled to the renowned Royal Ascot meeting in England. Despite having to contend with soft ground on a straight course and running without Lasix, she prevailed by a half-length in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, becoming the first American-based winner of the prestigious event.

Tepin returned to action with a victory in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in Toronto three months later. As it turned out, it would be the final victory of her career. She was unable to reel in a loose-on-the-lead Photo Call in the First Lady, then was second by a half-length to Tourist in her bid for a repeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Despite the late-season losses, she earned a second Eclipse title.

“Norman's done a great job with her,” Mark Casse said. “I’m proud. She’s probably one of our biggest accomplishments because I think she started out as good, and she's become great. I don't care how good you are, how good a trainer, you can never predict greatness like her.”

Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Tepin, from the penultimate crop by the late Bernstein, is out of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened, also the dam of multiple-graded-stakes-winning millionaire Vyjack and graded-stakes-placed Prime Cut. Life Happened is a finalist for Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, to be presented this week.

“Incredible to follow and be a part of Tepin’s career, having bred such a queen of the turf,” Craig Brogden of Machmer Hall said.