Stackin’ Cheddar: Remembering Tepin’s Breakthrough Stakes Win at Churchill

Tepin won the 2015 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile with Julien Leparoux aboard, the launching pad to a career that brought her two Eclipse Awards as champion turf female. (Eclipse Sportswire)

This marks the latest edition of “Stackin’ Cheddar: Looking Back”, a new biweekly series on America’s Best Racing. Here, we’ll look back on an early race in the careers of some of the greatest horses of all time, including spots where they went off at a big price.

May 2, 2015

Churchill Downs, Race 8

Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes

Tepin rewrote the book for female grass horses in the United States during the mid-2010s. Between 2015 and 2016, she won 10 graded or group stakes races while boosting her career earnings to more than $4.4 million. In 2015, she became the first American-based filly or mare to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The next year, she shipped to Royal Ascot and won the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes. She won the Eclipse award for champion female turf horse in 2015 and 2016.

Her dominant run for owner Robert Masterson and trainer Mark Casse started at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May 2015. Later that day, American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby and started his Triple Crown run. Not many people paid attention to Tepin, who had a relatively nondescript résumé going into the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. She won the Delta Princess Stakes on dirt at Delta Downs as a 2-year-old but was never a serious threat in three graded stakes tries as a 3-year-old, sandwiching a second-place effort in the San Clemente Stakes between two unplaced performances. In her 4-year-old debut, she won a second-level allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park by a length, but was getting a serious class test when she entered the starting gate for the Distaff Turf Mile. Bettors thought little of her and sent her off at 9.10-1 in a 13-horse field.

Under Julien Leparoux, riding her for just the second time, Tepin broke well and quickly made her way to the early lead. As the field rounded the final turn, Maid on a Mission drew alongside her, but Tepin brushed her aside and opened up in the stretch. Coffee Clique angled off the rail and tried her best to get by, but Tepin held sway and won by 1 ½ lengths.

That victory marked Tepin’s first graded stakes win. Next out, she won the Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park for her first Grade 1 victory. From there, the sky was the limit.

1 Tepin




2 Coffee Clique  



3 Sandiva                     


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