Robert Masterson’s Tepin took the lead out of the gate and cruised to a 1 ½-length victory over defending race champion Coffee Clique to win the 30th running of the $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) Presented by Longines for fillies and mares.
Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Tepin ran the mile on a fast Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:34.12.
Tepin quickly opened a daylight advantage and led the field of 13 through fractions of :24.10 and :48.18 with Maid On a Mission and Kiss Moon in closest pursuit and Coffee Clique racing fourth.
Tepin completed the six furlongs in 1:11.66 and had more than enough left in the tank to repel the midstretch bid of Coffee Clique.
The victory improved Tepin’s record to 10-4-1-1 and was worth $169,260. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein out of the Stravinsky mare Life Happened has earned $579,113 in her career.
Tepin returned $20.20, $8.20 and $5.80. Coffee Clique, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $4.80 and $3.20 in finishing three lengths in front of Sandiva (IRE), who paid $3.20 to show under Javier Castellano.
Completing the field in order were Lady Lara (IRE), Maid On a Mission, Strike Charmer, Personal Diary, I’m Already Sexy, Kitty Wine, Solid Appeal, Kiss Moon, Water Hole (IRE) and Grand Elmendorf.
CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE PRESENTED BY LONGINES QUOTES
JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of TEPIN (winner)
“Before the race we were looking at the race and said, ‘There isn’t much speed.’ She is a natural speed filly, so we let her run the first part of it and on the backside she relaxed beautifully and she kicked on nice at the end. When she won at Gulfstream, she was very impressive. I really like the filly and was real confident today.”
MARK CASSE, trainer of TEPIN (winner)
"These two races, she's come back really well. You know, this was Danzig Moon's workmate the other day, so when he worked so good, everybody was saying, 'Who was that?' When they got the half in 48-and-change, and I said, 'It should be over.' ''
JOHN VELAZQUEZ, jockey of COFFEE CLIQUE (second)
“There was supposed to be more speed in the race but not sure where it went. My filly lugged in down the lane and maybe it has something to do with the break. She sat perfectly in the gate and then fell right on her face after the gates opened. “
BRIAN LYNCH, trainer of COFFEE CLIQUE (second)
“John (Velazquez) said she stumbled out of there and he couldn’t believe she got her legs back underneath her. He said she gave it everything she had but the pace wasn’t that quick.”
JAVIER CASTELLANO, jockey of SANDIVA (third)
The winner went pretty fast up front and I give her a lot of credit. It was a good race but my filly simply wasn’t at her best today.”