Groupie Doll Bids Farewell in Hurricane Bertie

It was never in Mandy Pope’s plans to race Groupie Doll in Sunday’s $200,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Pope had purchased Groupie Doll as strictly a broodmare prospect for $3.1 million last November, a few days after the Buff Bradley-trained champion captured her second-straight $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

A subsequent decision to run the Eclipse Award-winning mare one more time in the Cigar Mile (G1), in which she experienced a rough trip during a fourth-place performance, also didn’t turn out as planned. “It was horrible and I hated to end her career like that. It was cold, not a fun day over all,” Pope said. “I figured down here with the nice weather, people will be able to be outside and see her and enjoy her. Hopefully, it will be a grand way for her to have her last race.”

Groupie Doll, who will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh, is expected to be the odds-on favorite to conclude her sterling career in the 6 ½-furlong Hurricane Bertie, which attracted a field of seven fillies and mares.

“It’s not about the money. Mandy really does care about her horses,” said Bradley, who bred the 6-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band in partnership with his father, Fred. “On paper, Groupie Doll looks like she should win, but there’s a reason they put them all in the starting gate. We still need things to go well.”

Pope formed a special attachment to Groupie Doll at the Keeneland November Sale before even Bradley knew it.          

“I was trying to hide from Buff around the corner, and I saw her stick her head out and people were giving her peppermints. I said, ‘Hmmm.’ Then they took her out to show her to some people and she was so kind. I said, ‘Oh, Dear,’” recalled Pope about the sudden impulse to add Groupie Doll to her high-powered, high-profile broodmare band. “I just watched her a little bit, then I asked him to bring her out for me and I just kind of fell in love with her. She’s pretty awesome.”           

Groupie Doll has, indeed, been awesome during her career, in which the two-time Eclipse champion female sprinter has earned $2.5 million while capturing eight stakes.           

“Although this is going to be her last start and we’ll hate to see her go, we’re really excited to see her run Sunday,” said Bradley, who had campaigned Groupie Doll with his father and longtime clients Carl Hurst and Brent Burns before selling her at auction to Pope.          

The entries of Wildcat Lily and Jamaican Smoke in the Hurricane Bertie are expected to provide a solid pace for Groupie Doll, whose best races have been from off the pace. The Manny Azpurua-trained Wildcat Lily set the pace in the Grade 1 Prioress before coming up just a quarter of a length short of victory. The Eddie Kenneally-trained Jamaican Smoke is also Grade 1 stakes-placed after setting the pace.           

Heart Stealer has won both of her Gulfstream starts since being transferred to trainer Marty Wolfson, winning an entry-level allowance by 10 ½ lengths and a late-closing triumph by a neck in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) on Dec. 14.           

Five Star Momma is a multiple-stakes winner who is coming off a second-place finish in a Laurel stakes on Dec. 28. My Due Process and Distortion round out the field.



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Older Comments about Groupie Doll Bids Farewell in Hurricane Bertie...

These comments should be taken with a grain of salt. SOME of theese same people and you know whao you are said Groupie Doll shouldn't have been running last year. you wanted her to be retired and said the Cigar mile 2012 had taken too much out of her. She later went on to win the Breeders cup and the championship. Look, I understand that there is some risk involved in running her in this event but I don't want my last memory of her on the track to be a stumble in the last turn. I don't think her owner/trainer want that either.....GO GROUPIE DOLL!!
It's a deal, tom. Tell the fellas to lay-off the patellas.
Around April.Better hurry up,i am being threatened by midgets who will knee cap me if i don't get action on you against those young bucks.
Hehe tom. Man, that bookie is going to have to wait. I haven't been able to ride for over two months due to weather and schedule. I called the track today to see if they were open tomorrow, and they said it was a mud bog. Looking forward to WTC's return. Any idea when Vyjack is running next?
Just like when you will have to hang up the handlebard pal. (LOL) Are we coming close to that race.Got a fat bald NY Bookie who is looking for some action!!!.Good luck with your boy WTC on Sunday.Should slice and dice this bunch .Has my boy up and the hottest rider at GP. I can always root for WTC on that note alone. But fact he is a half to My friend Byrnes Take Charge Indy. I always followed and liked him from the Get Go.Heres hoping that it is he and Vyjack in a 10 minute photo in this years BC Classic. Let you in on a secret.You can get me that scenerio.WTC can have the Winners share.
I'm with ya tom. I'm just saying I'll be sad to see her retire, and I'll miss her on the track. Too bad she can't run forever. But, that's just me being selfish. She's earned her retirement. That's all I'm sayin'.
Hey Jay,my point,she has earned the accolades in Spades. I just don't like the cameo. Would rather they just said goodbye. This is a cheap way to send her out a winner.
Love the Doll. Sad to see her go, but hey...she's earned it.
Then she should have her legs up on the living room table and enjoy a wel deserved nap.
What if she had too much holiday pie? Sorry, still not over that.
No,where i have an issue with it is,why risk having her come back for 1 Allowance race. Let her go out a Champion. Please be honest.Will winning this Allowance race she will be running in on Sunsay. When she destroys them. Will it make you think that much higher of her. They should of had a special day,allow her to bask in her glory. Absolutely stupid that they would risk bringing her back.No 1 horse is ever 100% fit for their first race out. How fit can she be. Just an owner who wants her picture taken.Absolute joke. The Doll deserves more respect than being a pawn.
I definitely see where you are coming from, but I am okay with them choosing this spot as her final race. She is a true champion and you're right, she deserves to go out on a high note. If she hadn't been checked in the Cigar and had such a rough trip they probably would have been happy to retire her even if she hadn't won. Honestly I'm just so happy I'll get to see her run just one more time considering they could have retired her immediately after the BC. So yes, it isn't the strongest field she's faced, but if she can romp home in good time, I think a lot of people and the Doll will be happy.
I am sorry,i am sure i will catch a lot for the following. Is this the reason they brought her back for 1 final race. They shopped around for the best Allowance race with a Stake attached to it .Personally,this great champion deserves more. She is probably the best sprinting mare in the past 10 or so years. Allowing her to just walkover a bunch of Allowance quality fillies is embarrassing. I would rather they just paraded her in front of her adoring fans ,and let her get the cheers she deserved. But this,you have to be kidding me. hey are patronizing her. Why i always respected Shirrefs and the owners with Zennyata. They basically knew that washer last race. She had an undefeated record to protect. Yet instead of taking the easy way out. They went for it.

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