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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Is Groupie Doll Horse of the Year material?

The Breeders’ Cup may be over, but the important racing of 2012 is not. One race above all others that I’m looking forward to post-Breeders’ Cup will take place this Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, when that marvelous sprinting filly, Groupie Doll takes on a field of males in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. A victory by the Buff Bradley star would not only mark the first female to win in the history of the race, but it would also mean the four-year-old filly would have scored in the two most important races of her career in succession to close out her excellent season. It’s a season that has captured the imagination of racefans throughout the nation, but today I ask, would it be enough to secure her a legitimate chance to become the 2012 Horse of the Year? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of her argument.


Pro – With a win in the Cigar Mile, Groupie Doll would send her resume off to the voters on a most impressive roll. Victory on Saturday would mean that she ends 2012 with six consecutive wins, including four grade 1’s, (more than anyone in America) and a pair of grade 2’s. In this, what have you done for me lately world in which we currently live, momentum like this could be important in a tight, year-end vote.


Con – Winning the Cigar Mile would be a big feather in her cap, but for some voters, the big decision may have already been made. The Breeders’ Cup is thought of as the end-of-year World Championships, and anything that happens afterwards may be only a small blip on their radar.


Pro – Considering the way Groupie Doll has manhandled her competition in each of her last five races, including at the Breeders’ Cup, I believe it is safe to say that she dominates her division more thoroughly than any other single horse in America.


Con – Dominant in her division yes, but unfortunately for her, the female sprinter division may be the furthest removed from the glamour races of males running classic distances on the dirt.


Pro – While some of the other Horse of the Year contenders did not leave their comfort zones to finish off their seasons, Groupie Doll’s connections are thinking outside of the box with entry in a late-season, big race against males at one of the most important distances in American racing.


Con – Going into the Cigar Mile, Groupie Doll lacks a win over real topnotch competition, with fillies like Dust and Diamonds, Switch, and Musical Romance, being the classiest horses she has defeated yet this year. Saturday’s win would help, but even a victory over the likes of Stay Thirsty, Hymn Book, and Jersey Town might not look good enough compared to her competition.


Pro – Despite coming from a less glamorous division, Groupie Doll holds the advantage of girl power. The Horse of the Year voters are all human, and the popularity that comes with a girl taking on the boys may be a factor. See the last three HOTY winners for proof of this.


Con – With three straight female winners of the big award, the novelty or good feeling from selecting a girl over the boys, might have come and gone. Having another female candidate, in Royal Delta, might also lesson any thought of the popularity vote swinging towards Groupie Doll.


Pro – Groupie Doll is not only winning grade 1 races in spectacular fashion, but with a victory on Saturday, she has done it in America’s most important places, including Kentucky, New York, and Southern California. Having demonstrated her dominance, for a majority of voters to have seen in person, cannot hurt her chances.


Con – Winning in all the major racing markets is nice, but unless you win a Triple Crown race, or the Breeders’ Cup Classic, there are some who will not consider her the best of the best.


Pro – If Wise Dan is indeed the Horse of the Year favorite, it can be said that he also suffers from a lack of racing in America’s classic races.


Con – Wise Dan does have one major advantage over Groupie Doll, though, in that his season was about as close to perfect as could be. Only a somewhat unlucky, and narrow loss in the Foster, stopped him from being undefeated this year, while Groupie Doll has no real excuse in her first three races this year, other than the equipment change to blinkers since.


So where does all this leave Groupie Doll on her quest for the Horse of the Year award? First things first, she needs to continue her excellent racing in the Cigar Mile. Her attempt in the race is unique and should be appreciated. Personally, I hope we see her best on Saturday, culminating with another impressive win. After that, let the Horse of the Year chips fall where they may. 


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Older Comments about Is Groupie Doll Horse of the Year material?...

To be fair, I have to give credit to Groupie Doll for competing the best fields and putting their winning streak on the line.
Might as well start now before it is too late ;)
edgar, you'd have to re-write a lot of history, for horses that have won grade 1s over small fields.
Oops, typo...a 5 horse field as a g.1 event? C'mon, this does not really determine anything really for any entry- win or lose.
a 5 horse field as a
a 5 horse field as a
Ron the Greek a definite plodder who won by default when the pace collapsed in front of him. Like applauding the buzzards for a kill long after the predator has left.
The East Coast media really likes to overhype races when a filly beats the colts, but the Cigar Mile is not a Breeders Cup race. Wise Dan gets my HOY nod.
Whoever put RTG is a horrible horse you know nothing... He was a 2 time G1 winner and still had some form to hit the board in the classic... Wise Dan #1
Platano.. Pay attention this Saturday.
"also a lost to ron the greek a horible horse" at the top of his game which he was RTG was as good as any in n/a probably better. His form tailed off towards years end but when he beat WD he was a monster. WD who I believe is the best in N/a should get it. Fort Larned should get older horse though. Contradiction? not really. Think about it.
Wise Dan ..No contest.
3 grade 1's and 2 garde 2's going for 4th this saturday to make a combine of 4 g-1's and 2 g-2's wise dan has 1 g-3 1 g-2 and 3 g-1's also a lost to ron the greek a horible horse.groupie doll lost to boys at tosconova and awesome maria and royal delta which are more tougher horses than ron the greek come on just research and watch the races then you can argue who is better
wise dan hasnt beat better horses the bc mile was the 1st race all year that he had tough competion and if animal kingdom would of got through earlier he would of won the race.if wise dan was as good they say he is they would of put him in the classic.my opinion little mike and groupie doll should be the big talk for horse of the year
your crazy if you dont think she will win saturday there isnt a horse in there that could beat her
so is little mike has a big shot for HOY
hell nooooo Wise dan has beaten better horse this year and she wont win saturday
hell yeah horse of the year i said that after she won bc race she hasnt got the credit she deserves also what about little mike he has won the sunshine millions turf woodford reserves turf classic the arlington million then the bc turf race little mike and groupie doll should be in the mix
Although she didn't race Amazombie and Shackleford at Churchill Downs in May, her victory in the Humana Distaff, on the same day track and distance, was nearly 3 quarters of a second faster and set a track record. She didn't race them directly, but thats one thing about her 2012 that stands out in my mind.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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