LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 7, 2016) – Trainer Graham Motion has at least two reasons to race Miss Temple City against males in Saturday’s $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1): the purse is significantly more than the First Lady (G1) being run earlier on the same card and that race includes last year’s winner, champion Tepin, who is on an eight-race winning streak.
“I think Tepin is the best turf horse in the country, and I wasn’t thrilled to run against her for (less than) half the money,” Motion said. “So we thought we would take on the boys again.”
The strategy worked in April at Keeneland when Tepin defeated her own gender in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1) and Miss Temple City became the first female to win the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1).
Fillies and mares racing against males is something of a novelty in the U.S. but is common overseas.
“In Europe it is a little different because there is not the opportunity to run against their own sex,” said Motion, who grew up in England where his parents worked in the Thoroughbred industry. “Once fillies and mares get to this (upper) level in Europe, they have to run against the boys because they don’t have that many races restricted to fillies. I think people are a little braver about doing it perhaps than we are here.”
In the Shadwell Turf Mile, Miss Temple City will face new challenges in the form of assigned weights and her own stablemate.
“When we ran against the boys in the spring she carried (113 pounds, which was) five to seven pounds less than the others; that was a significant weight shift,” Motion said. “She only carries (123 pounds) three pounds less than the others in the Shadwell.”
One of Miss Temple City’s biggest competitors in the race will be another Motion trainee, Ring Weekend, winner of the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga on Sept. 5.
“I am not thrilled about running Miss Temple City and Ring Weekend against each other, but it is a million-dollar race and a ‘Win and You’re In,’ ” he said, referring to the automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) awarded to the winner. “They’re both doing great and I could not be happier with them.”