By Bill Finley
Tepin (Bernstein) has been invited to compete in the G1 Queen Anne S. at the Royal Ascot meet, an invitation owner Bob Masterson is eager to accept. The invitation came after the 5-year-old mare kicked off her 2016 campaign with an easy win Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs in the GIII Endeavour S.
“We had been thinking about taking her to Ascot way back after she won the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile last year,” Masterson said. “Now, they’ve reached out to us and asked us to come. That, alone, is quite a thrill and an honor.”
The Queen Anne will be held June 14, which gives Masterson plenty of time to make a final decision, but he said that if his mare remains in top form in the months ahead that he would “love to go.”
“Sometimes in this sport you have to do the sporting thing,” he said. “She might just be a once-in-a-lifetime horse and when you get a horse like that you need to take advantage of the opportunities. I think it would be a great thrill to go over there and compete in a race as prestigious as the Queen Anne.”
Trainer Mark Casse said after the Endeavour that Tepin may have one more start before one of her main goals for the year, the GI Maker’s Mark Mile Apr. 15 at Keeneland. The Maker’s Mark is looming as her first test against males this year and her first against the boys since she won the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. The Breeders’ Cup win helped Tepin wrap up an Eclipse Award as the nation’s leading turf filly or mare.
The Queen Anne is also open to males and is contested at Tepin’s preferred distance of one mile. The race is the first on the opening-day card of Royal Ascot. In 2015, its purse was worth roughly $541,000.
Masterson said he has already mulled his options concerning jockeys and will stick with French native Julien Leparoux should Tepin go to Ascot.
“If her regular rider were a John Velazquez or Javier Castellano, I would definitely replace them with a European rider,” he said. “But it’s an entirely different story with Julien because he’s European and he’s very used to riding at the type of tracks they have over there, Ascot included.”
Tepin | Sarah Andrew