11/22/2012 3:00PM

Aqueduct: Groupie Doll goes after the boys in Cigar Mile; pick six carryover is $109K

Tom Keyser
Groupie Doll ran off with the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and a win in the Cigar Mile would put her in the Horse of the Year picture.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It is, they say, a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. For a filly, the best she can do is change the mind of her trainer. Apparently, Groupie Doll did just that.

Trainer Buff Bradley was content to stop on Groupie Doll following her powerful performance winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Groupie Doll had other ideas.

So instead of frolicking on the Bradley family farm this weekend, Groupie Doll was one of many holiday travelers on Thanksgiving, vanning from Frankfort, Ky., to New York, where on Saturday she will take on the boys in the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

Groupie Doll’s presence adds some sizzle to a stakes-laden card that includes the Grade 1 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies and the Remsen and Demoiselle, a pair of Grade 2, $250,000 stakes for 2-year-olds.

The Remsen, Cigar Mile, and Gazelle are the first three legs of a late pick-four wager that has a guaranteed pool of $250,000 and concludes with a New York-bred maiden turf race.

Groupie Doll is one of five Grade 1 winners in the Cigar Mile. The others are 2010 Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town, 2011 Travers winner Stay Thirsty, 2012 Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book, and this year’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship winner Coil.

Groupie Doll comes off a sensational, against-the-bias victory in the Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. It was her fifth consecutive victory – all since adding blinkers and all in stakes.

Following the Breeders’ Cup, Bradley brought Groupie Doll to Churchill rather than his farm only because that track wanted to parade its Kentucky-based Breeders’ Cup winners on Nov. 11. Bradley kept Groupie Doll in light training, but it became obvious she wanted more.

Bradley remembers Groupie Doll coming off the track on the morning of Nov. 10 and her exercise rider, Jada Schlenk, telling him, “You better find her a race.”

Coincidentally, that was the day nominations to the Cigar Mile closed.

“She came back from California in great shape,” Bradley said. “People saw that on parade day at Churchill. She went over there not nervous, not excited, but you could tell she was like, ‘Hey let’s do this.’ She was ready to go then. We felt, why not? Let’s give it a shot. I love the mile for her. Rajiv [Maragh] is there, and he knows the track. We have a lot of plusses to go and very few minuses.”

A victory by Groupie Doll would be her fourth Grade 1 win of the year and could put her in the conversation for Horse of the Year. Bradley said that is not why he is running her here.

“If she was to win I think it would make people think a little bit, but it’s not anything we’re trying to do,” said Bradley, who is making his first appearance at Aqueduct. “I do know this – she’s my Horse of the Year, and that’s what really matters.”

Groupie Doll is 2 for 3 at a mile, her only loss coming to Boys at Tosconova when Groupie Doll began her 2012 campaign against males in an allowance race at Gulfstream.

Groupie Doll does her best running from off the pace, and she figures to get a solid pace with Stay Thirsty, Associate, and Buffum having drawn the inside three post positions.

A fast pace could also benefit Hymn Book, who finished second behind To Honor and Serve in this race last year. Hymn Book comes off a win in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Oct. 19, something he did coming into the 2011 Cigar.

“He might have been a little farther back than I would have liked, but he finished up good and a nice horse beat him,” trainer Shug McGaughey said, reflecting on last year’s Cigar Mile. “That day he proved to me he could run with this kind.”

Jersey Town upset the 2010 Cigar Mile at odds of 34-1, outfinishing Haynesfield. He won the Grade 2 Kelso going a mile at Belmont two starts back before finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3.

“I don’t know if he didn’t like the track or two turns or what it was,” trainer Barclay Tagg said about the Breeders’ Cup. “This was always a thought: If he came out of it good, we were going to try it, and so far he came out of it good.”

Jersey Town breezed a sharp five furlongs in 59.40 seconds last Sunday.

Stay Thirsty comes off a head loss behind Flat Out in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race in which he set very fast fractions and finished 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Fort Larned, who came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Coil, a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/8 miles and at six furlongs, ships in for trainer Bob Baffert, who has won this race three times. Coil is coming off a seventh-place in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Buffum was a sharp winner of the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on Oct. 27, his first start off a 112-day layoff. His trainer, Tom Albertrani, said he was only on the lead in the Bold Ruler because of his rail draw. Saturday, Buffum breaks from post 3.

Associate, third in the Bold Ruler, completes the field.

Richard More than 1 year ago
There is a reason I picked The Clark with Shackleford as a better race than The Cigar Mile. The Cigar Mile has too many horses changing their running distances to run in this race. The Clark had routers. Groupie Doll is a sprinter who won The BC Filly and Mare race at seven furlongs. She is raising the distance by one furlong. Stay Thirsty placed by a head In The Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 ¼ miles, a route race. He is backing up to a mile which is just a half a furlong from a sprint race. Coil is moving up from six furlongs to a mile. Hymn Book is a router. Jersey Town is the one who won at one mile in The Kelso with a 110 beyer. Groupie Doll won with a 108 beyer. Stay Thirsty got about 108 on the beyer. Stay Thirsty ran as the lead horse the whole way until Rosario on Flat Out decided if he was going to beat him he had to hurry up because Flat Out did not catch him until they hit the wire and won by a head, one point. Of the last eleven races that Jersey Town has raced he has won at one mile on dirt twice. Class wish I guess, one could pick Groupie Doll or Stay Thirsty or have them boxed in the exacta. Keep Jersey Town open though with that 110 beyer at one Mile in The Kelso. We will see what happens, Good Luck!
Randy Castillo More than 1 year ago
The boys will be saying "who was that good lucking chick that flew by us....Damn It's Groupie Doll, It's going to be another lonely night for us boys in the band...we mean the barn."
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Jersey Town scratched And retired... Wham!
Dave More than 1 year ago
Interesting choice for Stay Thirsty, cutting back to a one-turn mile. Tend to try to beat horses coming out of BC races.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
groupie do;; will not win i guarantee you vs the competition her stamina is very suspect they r making a mistake buffum will be impossible to beeat here
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Wrong on so many levels. The Doll was there with the winner Stay Thirsty for the photo!
avlamal More than 1 year ago
but i was right where it counted beetch
David Caivano More than 1 year ago
sets up perfectly for Jersey Town...
ericgrimey More than 1 year ago
coil wins this...
tom More than 1 year ago
tomorrow winds 16-25 mph with guest as high as 40 mph.....There is chance they will cancel...
robert More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a normal winter day at AQU. No chance they'd cancel with 20 mph winds.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Kinsey Bienemann More than 1 year ago
Groupie doll will outkick them down the stretch. Groupie doll to win by 4.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And a safe trip to all...