Top older distaff sprinters Groupie Doll and Mizdirection had a lot in common in 2013: both were coming off top seasons in 2012, both made five starts in abbreviated campaigns last year, both earned in excess of $800,000, both won Breeders' Cup World Championship races, and both were sold for large sums at public auctions in November.
But there was one aspect of the two mares' seasons and careers that clearly set them apart from each other: Groupie Doll did all her running on dirt and synthetic surfaces, while Mizdirection continued to dominate the female turf sprint division.
Along with Dance to Bristol, who won or placed in nine of 10 starts last year, Groupie Doll and Mizdirection are finalists for the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Female Sprinter for 2013, the same category for which Groupie Doll took home the statuette last year. Mizdirection is also a finalist for an Eclipse Award as champion Female Turf Horse.
Winners in the 17 horse and human categories will be announced at the 43rd annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Fla. The ceremony will air live on HRTV.
If the 2012 Eclipse Awards are any indication, history is likely to repeat itself with Groupie Doll again taking home the honors as champion female sprinter. While the daughter of Bowman's Band won only two of five races after a belated start, she took down the race that really counted when she rallied from off the pace for her second straight win in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
Building off the excitement of her Breeders' Cup win, Groupie Doll then stole the show at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale when Mandy Pope went to $3.1 million to buy the mare from trainer William "Buff" Bradley; his father, Fred; Carl Hurst; and Brent Burns. In her first start for Pope, Groupie Doll was a troubled fourth in the Nov. 30 Cigar Mile (gr. I) won by top older male horse Flat Out . Now 6, Groupie Doll is scheduled to make one more start before being retired as a broodmare.
Mizdirection registered her fourth victory of the year when she unleashed a strong kick in the stretch to defend her title against males in the GEICO Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I). Following that race, the daughter of Mizzen Mast trained by Mike Puype for a partnership that included Bill Strauss and sports media personality Jim Rome's Jungle Racing, also went straight to Kentucky to be sold.
Consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale by Three Chimneys Sales as a broodmare prospect, Mizdirection was purchased by Mandore International on behalf of Qatar-based Al Shaqab Racing for $2.7 million.
Trained by Ollie L. Figgins III for Susan H. Wantz's Copperville Farm, Dance to Bristol had an outstanding year in 2013, but was no match for her more heralded female sprint finalists. The daughter of Speightstown posted a grade I win in the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and also won the grade II Honorable Miss Stakes and grade III Bed o' Roses Handicap.