BREEDERS' CUP FILLY & MARE SPRINT | PURSE: $1 MILLION | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | Grade 1 | 7 FURLONGS
Groupie Doll shot down any criticism she wasn't the same this year with a game off-the-pace victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.
It was the second consecutive victory in the seven-furlong race for Groupie Doll, who is owned by trainer William "Buff" Bradley; his father, Fred; Carl Hurst; and Brent Burns. The Bradleys bred the 5-year-old mare in Kentucky.
Judy the Beauty and Dance Card rallied for second and third, respectively. Summer Applause was fourth.
Groupie Doll, by Bowman's Band out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll, was ridden as usual by Rajiv Maragh. The final time was 1:20.75 on a fast track.
Groupie Doll will be offered at the Keeneland November breeding sale, which begins Nov. 5.
"She's the best," a tearful Buff Bradley said after the race." I'm so glad she got to show that today. No one on my team ever lost confidence in her. We've always known how good she is.
"The dirt and the seven furlongs were the difference today. Today was going to be emotional no matter what. This is her last race for us. I'm just so happy she's going out a winner."
Groupie Doll got away well from post 11 in the 12-horse field and was content to sit in fifth or sixth early as Sweet Lulu, who broke to her outside, set fractions of :22.19 for the opening quarter-mile and :44.19 for the half-mile. The leader was pushed by Teddy's Promise early.
Groupie Doll made her move three-wide approaching the six-furlong mark and passed the top two while well within herself. After six furlongs in 1:08.19, Maragh had to ask the mare for her best, and she delivered by holding off Judy the Beauty and Dance Card to her outside.
Groupie Doll won by a half-length. Judy the Beauty had a half-length on Dance Card.
"It set up just like last year," Maragh said. "Good trip, and when we got to the quarter pole, I was like, 'Whew, we're passing horses.' And I haven't even asked her yet. She ran great."
Luis Saez, who rode Judy the Beauty, picked up the mount after John Velazquez was injured earlier on the card. "I had never been on her before," the jockey said. "She doesn't like to run inside but [Rajiv] Maragh kept me inside. I came flying but it was too late."
"When it rains, it rains," said Blake Heap, assistant to trainer Wesley Ward. "We lost our jock and [Saez] didn't know her. This filly doesn't want to be down inside. When Groupie Doll came up outside her, she got intimidated and started to back off. When he took her around and outside again, she re-fired."
Last time out, Judy the Beauty won the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. Groupie Doll was third in that six-furlong event.
Groupie Doll paid $8, $4.60, and $3.40 across the board. Judy the Beauty returned $9.20 and $5.40, while Dance Card paid $4.80 to show. The $1 exacta paid $29; the $1 trifecta paid $218.60.
Groupie Doll now has 11 wins in 21 starts, with four seconds and four thirds. The Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint marked her fourth Grade 1 victory.