Woodbine Mile Preview: Tepin Strong Favorite For Weak Grade 1

Mark CasseThe wonder-mare Tepin, who has won her last seven races, runs in the $1million Woodbine Mile on Saturday against a moderate European challenge.

Tepin’s most recent race was at Royal Ascot in England when she cosily landed the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. Had the race been run in America she would surely have started odds-on but instead she was allowed to go off at 11/2. She was up with the pace from the get-go over the mile and while the winning margin was less than a length, she had plenty in the tank come the line.

Trainer Mark Casse’s (pictured) stable star will not be those sort of odds for the Woodbine Mile, where she ought to be no longer than a 2/5 favorite.

There are just eight runners, with three from Europe. The forecast second favorite is Mutakayyef, hailing from the Newmarket yard of English handler William Haggas. Mutakayyef earned his position as main threat to Tepin because of his latest two improved performances after a gelding operation. His penultimate run was a Group 2 victory at Ascot over a mile, followed by a respectable third in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes behind European champion Postponed.

The other two European challengers have less obvious chances with Arod (10/1) boasting some recent Group-placed form. He is, though, a fairly in and out performer for his handler Peter Chapple-Hyam. The change of scene might just see him put his best foot forward and it would be folly to dismiss this talented, if inconsistent, five-year-old completely.

Mr Owen is a French-trained raider, in the same Qatar Racing ownership as Arod. He is the mount of jockey Jamie Spencer, who gets a mixed reception in Europe where many bettors feel he gives horses too much to do too often. If they do go too quick then that hold-up style of racing could suit here, but Mr Owen was very much put in his place in this race last year. On the balance of his form, Mr Owen should not see which way Tepin goes.

Similarly Bill Mott’s Full Mast ought to be outclassed. His defeat at Saratoga last time in much lower class does not auger well for his chance here.

Tepin is drawn on the outside of the eight-runner field, but connections state they don’t see this as a disadvantage as she can sit in and watch the race unfold. If form means anything then Tepin should win this without too much fuss on the way to her engagement in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 5, for which she is the current strong favorite with the USA-friendly offshore sportsbooks.

With the forecast odds of around 1/2 or shorter for this 20th running of the Woodbine Mile, racegoers can expect a dominant display from the mare. Any betting line longer than 1/2 should be worthy of serious consideration by bettors as this field certainly lacks strength in depth. This is very much a European B team lining up against Tepin.

Provided her travels have not taken the edge off Tepin then this should be little more than a million-dollar cakewalk on the way to that Breeders Cup engagement.