After his soon-to-be-champion filly Groupie Doll lost a heartbreaking photo to 2011 Travers winner Stay Thirty in Saturday’s Grade I Cigar Mile, trainer Buff Bradley expected to hear it from the Aqueduct faithful for getting the even-money favorite beat.
Instead of piling on, the crowd let Bradley know that just because the daughter of Bowman’s Band didn’t make it to the winner’s circle didn’t mean they didn’t savor the show she put on against her male rivals.
“Here she was the even money favorite, she gets beat and I thought walking back I’m going to get an earful,” Bradley said when reached by phone Sunday afternoon. “But actually it was really nice. People were telling me thank you for bringing her and I was taken back by it, I really was.”
Though Groupie Doll came up about three inches short of her what would have been her sixth straight win and fourth Grade I triumph, her trainer and co-owner Bradley wasn’t second guessing his decision to the 4-year-old to the Cigar Mile just three weeks after her win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Not only was her reputation not dulled, but Bradley said Groupie Doll bounced out of the race well physically and was back at his family’s Frankfort-based farm by Sunday morning. Of her four races at the mile distance this year, her two losses were both against males as she previously ran second to Grade I winner Boys At Tosconova in an allowance race at Gulfstream this past January.
“We just turned her out for a bit, she bucking and playing,” Bradley said. “She ate up last night, her legs and cold and tight. We have no regrets running her yesterday. We just got out run by a better horse yesterday. She ran her race and we just missed a head bob. You run that race four more times and she might win a couple of them.
“She’s wonderful. When we got back to the barn, she was eating hay looking for people to take her picture.”
Groupie Doll had won five straight heading into the Cigar Mile, including scores in the Grade I Vinery Madison and Grade I Humana Distaff this spring. Bradley, who bred and co-owns the filly along with his father Fred, said that she would likely be pointed for a similar schedule in 2013 beginning with a start in the Grade II Inside Information at Gulfstream in March.
Groupie Doll was third behind 2011 female sprint champion Musical Romance in the seven-furlong Inside Information this year.
“Right now, probably the best case scenario would be to look at the exact same races as last year,” Bradley said. “The good thing is she came out of (the Cigar Mile) good and she’ll be turned out with (retired Grade I winner) Brass Hat.”
Among those who also bounced out of Saturday’s action well were Uncaptured and Seaneen Girl, winners of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club and Grade II Golden Rod at Churchill Downs respectively.