All Class: Tepin takes aim at Diana

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The filly that gave her connections a big scare nearly a year ago is becoming a pretty intimidating force herself heading into the first Grade 1 stakes of the 2015 Saratoga Race Course meeting.

Tepin, who missed much of the second half of 2014 after a bout of heat stroke last August at Del Mar, is one of several to fear in today’s $500,000 TVG Diana Stakes on the Mellon Turf Course. She comes into the 9-furlong stakes on a three-race win streak, including the Grade 1 Just A Game on the Belmont Stakes undercard, and the Diana could go a long way toward solidifying her credentials as the best female turf runner in North America.

Trainer Mark Casse, back at Saratoga after sending his primarily Kentucky-based string to Del Mar the last few summers, pegged the Diana for Tepin minutes after she defeated a strong field that included Filimbi, Discreet Marq and Coffee Clique in the Just A Game. But even he’s a little concerned.

“Our concern is the mile-and-an-eighth,” he said about the Bernstein filly whose wins this year have come twice at 1 mile and once at 1 1/16. “If you look at her two mile-and-an-eighth attempts though, both of them were no indication of her. It had nothing to do with her going a mile and an eighth.”

To read the rest of the Diana Stakes preview and all the coverage of Opening Day and Day 2 of Saratoga, check out the digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland.