Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winner Groupie Doll arrived by van at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning.
Scheduled to make her 2013 debut in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream on March 17, Groupie Doll had been turned out for the past month at trainer Buff Bradley’s Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort, Ky. The 4-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band shared a paddock with Brass Hat, a retired 12-year-old gelding whom Bradley saddled for a Grade 1 victory in the 2006 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream.
“She’s been out every day. I don’t think she’s lost a lot (of conditioning). Brass Hat keeps her going,” Bradley told Gulfstream publicity. “She’ll probably gallop the month of January and start breezing in February.”
Groupie Doll, who is the odds-on favorite to be named champion female sprinter at the Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19, won three Grade 1 stakes in 2012 and had a five-race winning streak snapped in her final start of the year. Stay Thirsty just got up to nose her out in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.
“It was another great race. I don’t regret taking her up there,” Bradley said. “She showed everyone then that she’s one of the greatest.”
Groupie Doll’s 4 ½-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint looked easy, but it was achieved on a track that favored speed, which presented a challenge for the late-running filly.
“You could see early on in the Breeders’ Cup that she struggled a little bit because we knew we had to use her a little bit to have her stay up close and not let them get too far away,” Bradley said. “Rajiv and I talked about it. I don’t like to take a horse out of their running style, but we knew we were going to have to encourage her a little more earlier in the race.”
Groupie Doll was bred by Bradley and his 81-year-old father, Fred, who is currently dealing with physical issues.
“I went home for four days for Christmas and had to put him in the hospital with congestive heart failure. They’re draining the fluid; they’re giving him Lasix actually to drain the fluid,” Bradley said. “He should be doing better. It was tough to leave, but I had Groupie Doll coming in today.”
Groupie Doll/Coglianese photo