The inaugural running of the $100,000 Tepin S. at Churchill Downs has attracted as strong a field as you could hope to find for an ungraded stakes race.
From top to bottom, the field for this one-mile grass event is full of quality. No fewer than 15 sophomore fillies have been entered, including eight stakes winners and two Grade 1 winners. Finding the winner of this competitive heat will be a tricky but critical step for bettors hoping to hit Saturday’s all-stakes Pick 5 and claim a share of its $500,000 guaranteed pool.
The filly to beat is #9 Sharing, who employed tactical speed to secure clear-cut victories in the Selima S. and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last season. Conditioned by Graham Motion, Sharing has been breezing steadily at Fair Hill in preparation for her return and figures to sit a cozy trip stalking the pace on Saturday, but victory off the layoff is far from guaranteed.
After all, Sharing will have to deal with the undefeated Godolphin homebred #14 Alms. This daughter of City Zip has gone 4-for-4 under the care of hot trainer Michael Stidham, rattling off victories in the Matron (G3) and Jimmy Durante (G3) as a juvenile before kicking off 2020 with a 4 1/4-length romp in the one-mile Shantel Lanerie Memorial at Fair Grounds. Runner-up #4 Dominga came right back to win the Allen Black Cat LaCombe Memorial over the same course and distance, flattering Alms’ performance.
But while Alms is a logical upset candidate, drawing post 14 could force the unbeaten filly to endure a wide trip. And the Tepin is far from a two-horse race — #2 Abscond won the 2019 Natalma (G1) by a nose over #3 Walk In Marrakesh; #5 Hendy Woods is 2-for-2 under the care of Mark Casse; #7 Outburst was a gate-to-wire winner of the Florida Oaks (G3); and #12 Moral Reasoning is stakes-placed for top turf trainer Chad Brown. You can easily make a case for eight or nine fillies in this field.
My advice? For Pick 5 purposes, spread as deep as you can afford to try and survive this challenging race. Then take Sharing and Alms and key them together in a trifecta, using “ALL” for the remaining slot in hopes of catching a major longshot for first, second, or third place:
$0.50 Trifecta: 9,14 with 9,14 with ALL ($12)
$0.50 Trifecta: 9,14 with ALL with 9,14 ($12)
$0.50 Trifecta: ALL with 9,14 with 9,14 ($12)
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