Champion female sprinter Groupie Doll tightened the screws for her title defense in the Sept. 9 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II) on Sept. 3, going a half in :47 3/5 at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Jada Schlenk.
Trainer Buff Bradley had nothing but good things to say regarding the 5-year-old daughter of Bowman's Band, who returned from a layup Aug. 10 with a third in the Gardenia Stakes (gr. III) at Ellis Park, a race that was her first stakes score when she won it in 2011.
"She worked very well and galloped out strong, came back really good—she's ready to go," Bradley said. "I told Jada to let her work a bit, because this is it, I wanted to make sure she's tight for this race, and she is."
After a rocky start to the season (read more here), Groupie Doll has been the model of consistency with her work pattern for Bradley, including multiple bullet moves. Following this latest breeze, she galloped out in 1:00 flat, which is standard fare.
"I was pleased with it; Jada said she felt great and she switched leads perfectly," Bradley said. "She really went into the work good; she looked good going to the pole and she cruised right around there."
Bradley, who co-owns the racemare along with his father, Fred Bradley, and partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns, said he believes her season debut behind Devious Intent at Ellis was a good starting point for a three-race campaign planned to culminate in a return to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
"Before I even got back to the barn I was thinking of all the positives that are going to come out of that race, and I think there's going to be a lot more positives than negatives," the trainer remarked. "It was a disappointment at first, but not in her. I was very pleased with her.
"It was more a disappointment in maybe how it unfolded a bit; she got shuffled back early and the track was favoring a little more speed that day. Not to take anything away from the top two, they ran an exceptional race in exceptional time, pretty near the track record. But we had to go around horses, and that's not something you want to have to do at Ellis.
"I think she really ran a bigger race than what it shows, a lot of people saw that. And she needed the race. It was the main reason for running there, to get her going. We're going to have three more good races in her left this year and want to make sure she's right for every one of them."
If all goes according to plan, Groupie Doll will next race in the Oct. 5 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II), a Breeders' Cup Challenge event she won last year at Keeneland, en route to the Nov. 2 Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park. First up is the 6 1/2-furlong Masters at Presque Isle Downs, which she took by 3 3/4 lengths last year in the midst of a five-race graded stakes win streak.
"We shipped her the day before the race last year, and that's what we'll do again," Bradley said. "My father and I will drive up the day of the race."
The Bradleys bred Groupie Doll in Kentucky out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll. She currently has a 9-4-3 record from 18 starts, with earnings of $1,668,850.
Also on the Sept. 3 worktab, but at Keeneland, was Masters contender Judy the Beauty, who clocked five furlongs in :59 1/5 on the all weather track. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly was runner-up last time out July 6 in the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II at Calder Casino & Race Course for Wesley Ward, and made it to the gate in the Aug. 23 Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course before she was scratched after flipping.