While Rick Dutrow
continues to take Boys At Tosconova’s
comeback one small step at the time, William Bradley
decided to take a bolder approach to Groupie Doll’s
2012 debut. Rather than keeping the filly in her own division, Bradley entered his charge in an allowance optional claiming race in which she will face five male rivals including Boys At Tosconova and Harlan’s Holiday Stakes
runner-up Our Dark Knight
Groupie Doll first made a splash when she took the G3 Gardenia Stakes
at Ellis Park
. She broke awkwardly, bobbling at the start, but recovered quickly to get up near the pace. The Bowman’s Band
filly stalked the pace in third behind Tidal Pool
and Stage Magic
from the inside. Entering the stretch, she was able to sneak in between rivals and showed a good kick to pull away and win by three. She completed the mile race in 1:37.37, and it was her third win in four starts and her third straight win. Her next two starts came in the Charles Town Oaks
, where she missed first by three-quarters of a length, and the G2 Raven Run Stakes
, where she was beaten by a head by Great Hot
. She then finished 7th in the G2 Mrs. Revere Stakes
and then dropped down in class to wire a short field in an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park
The field of six lacks a true closer. El Kingdom, a non-graded stakes winner with 4 wins in 17 starts, will likely set the pace. Boys At Tosconova, Groupie Doll, Imperial Czar, and Our Dark Knight will all go to the front to sit right off of or stalk the pace. Flatter This is the most versatile of the group; he can set or stalk the pace or he can wait patiently and close at the end. Groupie Doll and Boys At Tosconova are clearly the class of the race and the other four will be racing for third. The biggest threat to the top two will probably be Our Dark Knight who finished second to Trickmeister in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes last out.
In an interview with DRF’s Mike Welsch, trainer Bradley stated, “It wasn’t our initial plan to be in this race or run against the boys. I’ve been trying to get her into a filly and mare allowance race for a week but it never went. My main goal with her right now is the Sabin. It’s a month out and I wanted to get a race into her rather than drill her into stakes. She’s really on it right now and she needs a race more than anything.” The G3 Sabin Stakes is scheduled for February 25 and is for fillies and mares four years old and upward going a mile and a sixteenth.
Friday’s race is also a prep for Boys At Tosconova. Rick Dutrow’s goal for the colt is the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap Stakes
for four year olds and upward at a mile on the main track. Dutrow said to Welsh, “He’s ready to roll. Our goal with him now is the Gulfstream Park Handicap, and I didn’t want to wait all that time to run him again so this is a perfect spot for him. So far he’s done everything he’s supposed to have done. If he had freaked off the bench we might have looked for something more from him at this point. But I’m very happy to have this spot for him on Friday.”
The race is the fourth on Friday’s card. Post time is 2:03 p.m.