The multiple grade I winner, who counts last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) among her victories, will make her first start since finishing second by a head to Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) last November at Aqueduct Racetrack. She won the Gardenia in 2011.
The chestnut daughter of Bowman's Band is by far the most accomplished in a field of 12 entered in the one-mile stakes at the Henderson, Ky., racetrack. Trainer Buff Bradley, who bred Groupie Doll with his father, Fred Bradley—the two own the mare with partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns—is prepping Groupie Doll for a title defense in the Sept. 9 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II) en route to a hopeful Breeders' Cup return.
The Gardenia will be run as the eighth race on the nine-race card at Ellis Park, with an approximate post time of 4:10 p.m. CDT.
Having won the 2011 edition of the Gardenia certainly gives Groupie Doll an edge, particularly since she is the only one of the field to have previously won at Ellis Park. Regular rider Rajiv Maragh has the call from post 2.
There are two other graded-stakes winners in the field: John Oxley's Ontario-bred Dixie Strike, who scored in last year's Selene Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine, and Ice Cream Silence, who captured the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) three starts back at Keeneland.
Mark Casse-trained Dixie Strike, a 4-year-old daughter of Dixie Union, has three other blacktype wins to her credit and third-place finishes in last year's Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) and Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT). Miguel Mena rides Dixie Strike for the first time from post 4.
Ice Cream Silence, a homebred for G. Watts Humphrey Jr., hopes to get back on the board after finishing fourth in the Fleur de Lis Handicap, (gr. II) and seventh in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) in her last two starts. Breaking from the 3 hole, Ice Cream Silence will have Brian Hernandez in the irons.
Graded stakes-placed Twice the Lady, a 5-year-old by Quiet American, has registerd a second in the Top Flight Handicap and a third in the Ruffian Handicap, both grade II events. Her only blacktype victory came in her first start this year, the Jan. 26 Affectionately Stakes.
She has been moved about quite a bit in the last two years, having been claimed three times since July 2011, but since entering Tony Dutrow's barn she boasts a record of 3-4-2 from 11 starts. Twice the Lady will start from post 10 for owners Michael Dubb, Stuart Grant, Gary Aisquith, and Scott Akman, with Ricardo Sanatana Jr. in the saddle for the first time.
Five blacktype-winning 4-year-old fillies will break from the gate in the Gardenia.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Awesome Flower comes in off a pair of victories, most recently the one-mile Lady Canterbury Stakes July 13 in Minnesota. Victor Lebron has the call on the Mike Maker trainee from the rail.
Sharp Sally hopes to stretch her winning streak to four as she comes in off a victory in the Firecracker Stakes at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. Jesus Castanon is named to ride the Posse filly from the outside post.
Winner of last year's Genesis Stakes at Racetrack & Casino, | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino, Devious Intent last visited the winners circle four starts back with an allowance score at the Gardenia distance at Oaklawn Park. Devious Intent comes in off a pair of runner-up finishes at six furlongs and will break from post 9 with Roberto Morales in the irons.
Entering the Gardenia off a second in the Iowa Distaff and a win in the Wayward Lass two starts back, Ian Wilkes trainee Magic Hour will break from post 6 with Leandro Goncalves up.
Ciaguaraya, owned and trained by Eddie Kenneally, has one recorded victory at the Gardenia distance, and along with a victory in the Crowned Stakes at Delaware Park in November, she has three blacktype-placed finishes. She will be ridden by Corey Lanerie and will break from post 8.
$100,000 Gardenia Stakes (gr. III , Race 8, approximate post time 4:10 p.m. CDT), Fillies and mares, 3YOs & Up, 1 mile (dirt).