Favored Groupie Doll made it consecutive grade I wins when she dominated the field in track-record time while taking the $334,500 Humana Distaff Stakes (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 5 (VIDEO).
The final time for the seven-furlong main track event for older fillies and mares was 1:20.44, shaving .06 off the record established May 5, 2001 by Alannan. Groupie Doll won by 7 1/4 lengths.
Fred and Buff Bradley's homebred, trained by Buff Bradley, took the lead from pacesetting Mildly Offensive leaving the turn and took command in the stretch for jockey Rajiv Maragh to win in a romp. Groupie Doll won the Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) by three lengths on the Polytrack at Keeneland in her prior race April 12.
"I told Rajiv to put her in the race early, but he got to the front earlier than I thought he would," said Buff Bradely. "When I saw that, I said, 'She's going to gallop from here.' Finishing has never been an issue with her.
"I think she was even more impressive today than she was at Keeneland (in winning the Madison). She was just dragging Rajiv out there. The blinkers have really helped. I think she's starting to figure things out. She'll get a short break now."
Musical Romance, last year's Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) winner at Churchill, finished a distant second. Magical Feeling ran third.
Groupie Doll, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old by Bowman's Band out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll, is owned in partnership by the Bradleys with Carl Hurst and Brent Burns.
The chestnut filly wintered at Gulfstream Park and was making her fifth start of the year in the Humana Distaff. Prior to her grade I wins in Kentucky, she finished third in both the Sabin (gr. III) and Inside Information (gr. II) stakes at Gulfstream.
Sent off as the slight 3-1 choice in the field of nine, Rajiv had Groupie Doll well-positioned on the speed-favoring Churchill strip in second, breathing down the neck of Mildly Offensive as they advanced down the backstretch. They clipped off an opening quarter mile in :22.42 and the half in :44.57 as Groupie Doll took control.
It was no contest through the lane as Groupie Doll gradually built an insurmountable advantage over a field that appeared to be closely matched. Kept to her task by Maragh, Groupie Doll led by 5 1/2 lengths at the furlong mark and continued to extend the lead to the wire.
"She went right out and put me in good position," Maragh said. "She wanted to go at the three-eighths pole, but the plan wasn’t to do that right then. But she was doing it so willingly, I didn’t want to take that away from her. When she moved she really took off.
"Coming down the stretch when I was so far ahead, I felt wonderful. I’m so glad to have a horse like this that makes you look so good as a rider.”
Musical Romance, rallying from fifth for Juan Leyva, finished 5 1/4 lengths in front of Magical Feeling and Junior Alvarado. Musical Romance was fourth in the Madison after defeating Groupie Doll in the Inside Information.
Groupie Doll and Musical Romance each carried top weight of 123 pounds.
Southern California shipper Mildly Offensive finished fourth, followed by Switch, Sassy Image, Salty Strike, Hot Summer, and Fantasy of Flight.
Groupie Doll improved her career record to 6-3-2 in 13 starts and extended her earnings to $687,850 with the winner's purse of $199,094.
The winner paid $8.20, $4.40, $3.20. Musical Romance, last year's champion female sprinter for trainer Bill Kaplan, returned $5.40 and $4 while rounding out a $41.60 exacta. The Allen Iwinski-trained Magical Feeling paid $5.80.