Trainer William "Buff" Bradley confirmed Sunday that multiple Grade 1-winning filly Groupie Doll will make her next start against boys in Saturday's Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct. She was assigned to carry 118 pounds in the race.
Exiting a 4 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, Groupie Doll rides a five-race winning streak into the Cigar Mile including additional Grade 1 victories in Keeneland's Madison and Churchill Downs' Humana Distaff this spring. In her only previous start against males, the Bowman's Band filly was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Boys at Tosconova in a January 27 optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park.
"I wasn't looking for another race for her; I wasn't looking for a race against boys," Bradley said by phone from Kentucky. "I thought that trip (to and from California) might knock her back a little, but they had the parade of Breeders' Cup champions here at Churchill last weekend and she was just feeling so good. We took her to the track to train her just to let her down a little. I never even thought about the Cigar Mile until that weekend."
Groupie Doll worked a half-mile at Churchill on Saturday, covering the distance in :48 1/5.
"She came back good and ate up last night," Bradley said. "Since the layoff over the summer she's only had three starts and she's won all three of them impressively. She'll get a vacation after this regardless, but she's got something left. We want to run her when she's ready to run, and she's ready right now. The one-turn mile is good for her and I feel she can be competitive in a race like this."
Bradley, who bred and co-owns Groupie Doll with his father, Fred, said the four-year-old miss would van to Aqueduct on Thanksgiving Day.
A number of contenders for Saturday's Holidayfest stakes at Aqueduct turned in their final works Sunday morning at Belmont Park, with trainer Todd Pletcher sending out more than a half-dozen workers.
Among that group was Cigar Mile Handicap candidate Stay Thirsty, who went a half-mile in :48 4/5 in company with Grade 2 Remsen nominee Revolutionary, who got the same time, over the fast training track.
Also breezing in preparation for the Remsen from Pletcher's barn were Violence, who got four furlongs in :48; Delhomme, who posted five-eighths in 1:01; and Micromanage, who turned five panels in 1:01. Pletcher's Grade 2 Demoiselle hopeful Unlimited Budget breezed a half-mile in :48, also over the training track.
On Belmont's fast main track, 2010 Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town signaled his readiness for Saturday's race with a five-furlong breeze in :59 2/5. Fellow Cigar Mile candidates Buffum, who toured five-eighths in 1:02, and Hymn Book, a half-mile mover in :49 3/5, also worked on the main track.
In other works, Book Review tuned up for the Grade 1 Gazelle with a half-mile breeze on the training track in :48 2/5 while Emollient went the same distance in the same time on the same surface in preparation for the Demoiselle.