And they lived happily ever after. That is how a great story should end.
The racing career saga for one of the greatest female sprinters in recent memory, is complete. No need for cliffhangers or melancholy endings here. Groupie Doll closed the final chapter to a superior life as a racehorse in typical Groupie Doll fashion.
Actually, the result of today’s Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park may have been what all of us in the Doll House had been hoping for and expecting, but this 6 ½ furlong vignette was not without its own little twist.
Breaking slow out of the starting gate under longtime partner, Rajiv Maragh, Groupie Doll quickly dropped out of the immediate picture. As the other six fillies and mares tried to run as fast as they could, for as long as they could, in hopes of pulling off a monumental upset, Groupie Doll was a little farther behind than usual. Had the fantastic daughter of Bowman’s Band finally lost her desire to dominate her competition?
My pre-race nerves (yes, I’ve been a loyal fan of the Doll since her first career victory on June 17, 2011) therefore remained through the first quarter mile, as the only thing I could do was watch the little chicklet on the computer screen, as it trailed well behind the rest of the colored boxes. Needing that “1” in the red box to get going, it seemed like an eternity for the Hurricane Bertie field to make it to the far turn.
Luckily that eternity was merely self inflicted pain, as the leading group carved out quick fractions, starting with a :22.27 for the first two furlongs. It was good news for the one horse everybody was watching, and so was the sudden movement that the little red chicklet was making.
Reeling them in like Ahab dreamt of landing Moby Dick, Groupie Doll was back in the picture and gaining gobs of ground on the far turn. By the time she swung wide for her final turn for home, the rest of the Hurricane Bertie field felt greatness just to their outside.
She exploded by, and clear, and just like that it was over.
23 career races, and 12 career wins. Two-times a champion, Groupie Doll pushed her name into racing immortality. She also thrust her way into many of our hearts. I was a few years late to see the great Ta Wee run, but I can tell my grandchildren someday that I was around to see Groupie Doll.
Thank you, Fred and Buff Bradley for bringing us Groupie Doll. And thank you, Mandy Pope for allowing us one final time to say goodbye.
The final time did not matter. It was 1:14.68. The final margin did not matter. It was 7 lengths. What did matter was this marvelous and lovable mare will go out like a champion.
In running one of the finest races of her career, Groupie Doll runs off into the sunset a racing superstar. Farewell, sweet girl. You will not be soon forgotten.