Reigning champion female sprinter Groupie Doll put in her final serious move in advance of her expected start in next Monday’s Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, breezing four furlongs in a snappy 47:60 at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning.
Exercise rider Jada Schlenk remarked the 5-year-old chestnut mare “did it all on her own”, galloping out in 1:00 flat in her second work since finishing third in the Grade III Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park on August 10. The one-mile Gardenia was Groupie Doll’s first race since running second in the Grade I Cigar Mile against males last November, and that rust combined with a lackluster break is what trainer/co-owner Buff Bradley feels contributed to her upset defeat.
“We’re ready to go next week. I think between the last race and her two breezes, she’ll be ready now,” Bradley said. “It was quite a few things (that got her beat in the Gardenia). She hadn’t run since November plus she didn’t have the best break and got shuffled back early – and that track was favoring speed quite a bit that day. We knew we were up against it a little bit but take nothing away from those two in front of her.
“She was tired but she really kind of came back in a few days and was doing fine. She came out it in good shape and that was the main thing, that we got a race into her and she came back good.”
The 6 1/2 furlong, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters was one of four consecutive graded stakes Groupie Doll annexed last season en route to her championship-clinching triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Park last November. While her loss in the Gardenia can be forgiven given the hiatus she was coming off of, Bradley concedes it is crucial he see the daughter of Bowman’s Band get back on her game next Monday.
“I think we really do (need to see her win),” Bradley said. “I think that’s one thing we’re looking at. But if she runs a big race and gets beat a nose I guess I can’t say anything but you have to think she’s going to run her race. And if she’s the same horse she was last year, she’s going to run big.”
Bradley reiterated that a start in the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on October 5 would likely be next for Groupie Doll following her Presque Isle outing with a return run in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint the main objective.