Note: Due to space restrictions, a shorter version of this recap is running in print.
As if sensing she was going to be the most talked about girl of the afternoon, Groupie Doll kept halting before the cameras in the paddock prior to Saturday’s Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, giving those interested a chance to capture her best side.
Several minutes later, the multiple Grade I winning dynamo gave her eight rivals the view of her they’ve become all too accustomed to.
The role of favorite for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was officially filled before 22,292 at Keeneland when Fred and Buff Bradley’s homebred filly Groupie Doll burst through between horses in the lane to win the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America by 6 1/2 lengths.
The six-furlong test was one of five graded stakes on the Keeneland card Saturday.
The calm and cool Groupie Doll has dominated the female sprint division this year, winning four straight including the Grade I Vinery Madison at Keeneland this April and Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. Once the chestnut filly found room under Rajiv Maragh Saturday, the only question was how massive the final margin would be as she hit the wire in 1:09.21.
“I feel like right now, she’s tough,” said Buff Bradley, who trains Groupie Doll and co-owns her with his father Fred. “I think one thing that helps this filly is she is very classy and knows how to relax. It doesn’t matter where she goes.”
Impressive as Groupie Doll has been on synthetic surfaces, she was her most dominant winning the Humana Distaff in track record time over the Churchill dirt – something that bodes well for her racing over Santa Anita Park’s main track in the Breeders’ Cup next month.
Even if the daughter of Bowman’s Band should somehow falter in the Breeders’ Cup, she might still have a stranglehold for this year’s female sprinter Eclipse Award as she has twice defeated reigning sprint champion Musical Romance this season in the Madison and Humana Distaff.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Buff Bradley said. “This was a great race to win really for us. I know she’s done very well on the synthetics but I really think she does better on the dirt, I really do. I’m looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup being longer (seven furlongs) because I think that’s her distance.”