While this past weekends Kentucky Derby prep races were disappointingly slow, another division looked to be getting a whole lot stronger. The filly and mare turf division had a great showing from its top performers.
On Friday Miss Temple City, the only filly in the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile won the prestigious race at 6-1. She ran the race in a solid 1:34 flat and got a 108 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. The next day Breeders’ Cup Mile Champion Tepin, won the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes in her usual stalking fashion.
The filly out of the sire Bernstein, usually breaks well enough to sit just off the early speed, and track just off of them until she is asked to make her winning move. Regular Jockey, Julian Leparoux will never have her sit farther than three or four lengths off the pace which leaves her just fresh enough to unleash her explosive kick as they hit the stretch drive. She executed this perfectly last fall in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keenland then a month later in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
For Miss Temple City her path to the top has been an inspiring one of a horse who has at times displayed talent but has had to grow in steps to get to this point she is at now. The daughter of Temple City and Glittering Tax (Artax) has danced in the big dances but has only had one stakes victory to her name going into the Makers Mark Mile. Her race previous to the Makers Mark Mile was at the end of her three-year-old season in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In that race she looked like she was getting to the leader, Her Emmenancy when she steadied hard along the rail. After coming to a near stop she had to regain her speed and still nearly caught the winner at the wire.
After a strong spring last year as a three-year-old she was sent over the pond to England to run in the Coronation Stakes at the Royal Asscot meet. In that race she was dismissed at odds of 21-1, yet wound up running a huge race. She finished a hard nosed fourth, but undoubtedly gained a wealth of experience against some of the top horses in Europe. This year trainer Graham Motion is thinking about taking the same route.
“I am thinking about the Duke of Cambridge, a group II at Royal Ascot (June 15) that is a mile on the straight,” Motion said. “I think a mile might be her deal.”
The third piece to this puzzle is Lady Eli; the undefeated champion is attempting to make a comeback after a freak accident left her with Laminitis. Since veterinarians have given her the go ahead to resume training Lady Eli has had a couple of carefully observed workouts down at Palm Medows training track in Florida. She still has a long way to go for a full recovery and it is still questionable if she will be able to get back to her championship form but if she did it could make for a very interesting second half of the racing season.