She's back and she wants the whole world to know it, judging by the past two workouts she's turned in. Groupie Doll, 2012 champion female sprinter and winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, seemed to have wings as she tore up the track at Churchill Downs on July 5. Her legs were a blur as she pounded the ground, covering four furlongs in :47 1/5 and earning herself her second bullet in two weeks. On June 29 she had her first breeze of the year, going three furlongs in :35 4/5
Three weeks after the Breeders Cup early last November, Groupie Doll ran in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. She lost the race by a nose to Stay Thirsty, winner of the Jim Dandy Stakes and the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The defeat snapped a five race winning streak for the chestnut, and while it was understandably disappointing, her connections were still proud of her. They had intended to give her a slight break in Kentucky and then ship her to Florida to prepare for the Grade II Inside Information at Gulfstream Park in mid-March. It seemed she had other plans.
After a month spent playing with 2006 Donn Handicap winner Brass Hat at trainer Buff Bradley's farm in Frankfort, Kentucky, Groupie Doll was vanned to Gulfstream at the end of December. She looked good as she stepped off the van; thanks to her paddock mate she hadn't lost much conditioning. The plan was to get her back to galloping, breeze her, and then run her in the the Inside Information. That all changed when the mare's blood-work didn't come back quite right. She was still eating, she wasn't coughing any, and she still had a normal temperature. That ruled out many things and left everyone with one diagnosis - infection. Put on antibiotics, she just walked the shed row until she had finished battling whatever it was she had.
She returned to the track midway through January, but something wasn't right. She didn't look like her normal self and wasn't comfortable. A veterinary exam showed no illness or injury, so it was uncertain what exactly was ailing Groupie Doll but one thing was for sure. Bradley didn't like what he was seeing. He decided to give her some more time off, and reunited her with pasture-mate Brass Hat.
May 6 saw the return of Groupie Doll to life on the backside, as she arrived at Churchill Downs. She was taken out the next day for a two mile jog, a routine that continued for the rest of the month. When June hit, her routine was changed slightly. She jogged a mile and then galloped another, and then was done with her real work for the day. Bradley galloped her for most of June, putting in her first breeze as the month came to a close.
Groupie Doll is currently on course for her 2013 debut, which is expected to come in either late August or early September. Bradley is currently considering either the August 23 Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga or the September 9 Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.
The Ballerina is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race, meaning that should Groupie Doll win it she would have an automatic hole in the starting gate at Santa Anita. Run at 7 furlongs on Saratoga's dirt oval, the Ballerina has a purse of $500,000. The Masters is 6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, with a purse of $400,000.
Groupie Doll won last year's Masters by 3 3/4 lengths in the midst of a heavy rainstorm.
Bradley co-owns the Kentucky-bred mare with his father, Fred, as well as Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. The Bradleys bred her themselves. She is by Bowman's Band and out of Deputy Doll, a Silver Deputy mare. Out of 17 starts, Groupie Doll has a record of 9-4-2 and earnings of $1,657,850.
While it is currently uncertain of where exactly she shall start, one thing is for certain... I know who my choice is.
Written by Ciara Bowen