Courtesy of NYRA notes team:
Reigning female sprint champion Groupie Doll breezed a half-mile Saturday morning in preparation for her second start against males in the Grade I Cigar Mile Handicap on November 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
With exercise rider Jada Schlenk aboard, the 5-year-old mare went out onto Belmont Park’s training track shortly after the renovation break at 7:45 a.m. As a light rain fell, Groupie Doll sailed through a half-mile in 48.61, her first timed workout since scoring her second straight victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
The move was the 15th-fastest of 79 at the distance.
“She breezed really well,” trainer and co-breeder Buff Bradley said of Groupie Doll, who will be making her first start for new owner Mandy Pope. “She went the first eighth in :12 2/5, finished up really well and galloped out strong, too, in 1:01 3/5. Jada said ‘perfect’ which is pretty good for me. She wasn’t even breathing hard when she got back.”
Groupie Doll, second by a nose to Stay Thirsty in last year’s Cigar Mile, will be competing for a $1 million gross purse in the Cigar Mile by virtue of a special purse incentive provided by The New York Racing Association, Inc. for past Breeders’ Cup winners.
“She’ll most likely breeze another half-mile next Sunday, and that will be it,” said Bradley.
Godolphin Racing’s Alpha remains under consideration for the Cigar Mile after breezing four furlongs on the Belmont training track Saturday in what was his first workout since his eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 1 at Santa Anita.
With exercise rider Carlos Rosillo aboard, Alpha worked inside of Long River and finished about a head behind his workmate, completing the distance in 48.14 seconds.
“He breezed very well; we’re happy with the breeze,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He galloped out well, and all systems are ‘go’ for the Cigar Mile.”
With Groupie Doll and Goldencents part of the provisional Cigar Mile field, McLaughlin said he will track Alpha’s progress before he fully commits the 4-year-old to the race.
“We’re going to keep our options open because [the race] is coming up tough, but we’re pointing that way,” said McLaughlin. “We’re happy with him, he likes New York, he doesn’t ship well, so we’re pointing to the Cigar Mile, even though it’s coming up tough.”