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Groupie Doll
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Groupie Doll Gallops Strongly for F&M Sprint

Defending champion prepping for final start for current ownership.

As she preps for her defense of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) title she won last year, champion Groupie Doll put in another strong gallop at Santa Anita Park the morning of Oct. 31.

The daughter of Bowman's Band who has won or placed in 18 of 20 starts and earned $1,928,850 was schooled in the paddock and saddling ring before her one-mile gallop under exercise rider Jada Schlenk.

"We're all good," said trainer Buff Bradley, who owns the mare along with his father Fred, Carl Hurst, and Brent Burns. The Bradleys bred Groupie Doll. "She'll do the same thing Friday, but not have as strong of a gallop."

Sent off the 7-10 favorite in last year's race at Santa Anita at seven furlongs, Groupie Doll rallied under Rajiv Maragh for a scintillating and emotional victory as Fred Bradley was able to witness the race in person despite health problems. Fred will be unable to be in California for this year's World Championships, but this year's Filly & Mare Sprint has another emotional tug for the owners.

After competing in the Nov. 2 race, Groupie Doll will return to Kentucky where she will be offered at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

"It's very difficult," Buff Bradley said of the pending sale. "She's been a dream. She's a wonderful filly who has taken us places you only dream about. People ask how can we sell her, she is like one of your kids.

"It's true. But if you want to raise a good horse that is very marketable, and if you do that you are very fortunate. From a business standpoint, it is the thing to do and I want to keep playing this game."

As exciting as last year's Filly & Mare Sprint was, Buff Bradley said her track-record setting romp by 7 1/2 lengths Humana Distaff on the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) card would remain the highlight of Groupie Doll's career for the current owners.

"To win on your home track on Derby Day and set a track record...she was dead on that day," the trainer said. "Winning the Breeders' Cup last year was awesome, as good as it gets, and hopefully we can get another one."

Although she has not been as dominant in 2013 as she was coming into the 2012 Breeders' Cup off three wins by a combined 17 1/2 lengths, Bradley thinks his mare's 5-2 morning line favoritism is legitimate.

"She's still the champ and she has not run poorly this year," Bradley said. "She has been right there every time."

Previous to the Breeders' Cup, Groupie Doll finished third in the Gardenia (gr. III) at Ellis Park at a mile, won the 6 1/2-furlong Presque Isle Masters Stakes (gr. II) for the second year in a row, and was third in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II) at six furlongs, 1 3/4 lengths behind winner Judy the Beauty.

"In her race at Ellis she was right there and in the TCA she was not drilled and never stopped trying," Bradley said.

Buff, his father, and their partners hope Groupie Doll is "right there" Saturday.