Updated on 11/02/2013 5:33PM

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint: Groupie Doll repeats

Barbara D. Livingston
Rajiv Maragh celebrates after Groupie Doll wins the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The majority said Groupie Doll had lost a step or two, and they were proved absolutely correct when the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint was run Saturday at Santa Anita – although it did them little good.

Instead of powering off to win by 4 1/2 lengths, as she did last year as an odds-on favorite, all Groupie Doll did this year was win by a half-length as a lukewarm favorite, probably clinching another divisional championship and rendering her trainer, Buff Bradley, a veritable puddle of emotion.

Bradley, who bred 5-year-old Groupie Doll in partnership with his 82-year-old father, Fred, could barely speak after Groupie Doll and regular rider Rajiv Maragh gamely turned back Judy the Beauty and jockey Luis Saez in the seventh running of the seven-furlong Filly and Mare Sprint. The Bradleys co-own Groupie Doll with Carl Hurst and Brent Burns and will sell the mare at auction Wednesday at Keeneland in their home state of Kentucky.

“She’s the best!” exclaimed Bradley.

Groupie Doll returned $8 to win after finishing in 1:20.75 over a fast track. Judy the Beauty was another half-length ahead of Dance Card, with Summer Applause another 3 1/2 lengths behind in fourth.

[BREEDERS' CUP SATURDAY: Video replays and race results]

Sweet Lulu broke fastest from her outside post to make the lead down the backstretch, with Teddy’s Promise emerging from a pack to give her a sustained challenge as they entered the far turn. Approaching the quarter pole, however, Groupie Doll loomed a huge presence after getting away cleanly from post 11 and never having a straw in her path during a sustained outside run. As those early leaders began to fade, it was Groupie Doll with her blinkered head in front as they straightened for home.

“It set up just like last year,” Maragh said. “When we got to the quarter pole, I was like, ‘Whew, we’re passing horses.’ And I haven’t even asked her yet. She ran great.”

Down the stretch, even as Judy the Beauty and Dance Card kept inching closer, they simply could not get to Groupie Doll, a chestnut Kentucky-bred who won for the 11th time in 21 career starts and earned $550,000 to increase her career bankroll to $2,478,850. She becomes the first two-time winner of the Filly and Mare Sprint, which was first run in 2007 at Monmouth Park.

Judy the Beauty, a 9-1 shot, was ridden by Saez only because John Velazquez, who was named to ride by owner-trainer Wesley Ward, was injured in an earlier BC race.

“I came flying, but it was too late,” Saez said.

Bradley said earlier in the week that he knew he would be extremely emotional after the Filly and Mare Sprint, “win, lose, or dead heat.” His father, too ill to withstand the rigors of traveling, watched in their hometown of Frankfort, Ky., as did Bradley’s wife, Kim, and their three children. All have been integral parts of the Groupie Doll team, along with exercise rider Jada Schlenk and assistants Matt Hebert and Maria Kabel.

Groupie Doll entered Saturday with just one win from three starts in 2013, but Bradley was far more confident in his star than most people thought he had a right to be. He believed the return to seven furlongs and a dirt surface would be of great benefit; that an outside post would afford Groupie Doll a clear trip; and the long run down the backstretch would allow Maragh to get her into a smooth rhythm.

He was dead-on about all of it.

“No one on my team ever lost confidence in her,” he said. “We always knew how good she is. I’m just so happy she’s going out a winner for us.”

Groupie Doll is not necessarily finished racing, as she is being sold as a racing or broodmare prospect at Keeneland.

After Summer Applause, completing the order were Sweet Lulu, Dance to Bristol, Great Hot, Teddy’s Promise, Book Review, Renee’s Titan, Ismene, and Starship Truffles.

$1 exacta (11-9) $29
50-cent trifecta (11-9-4) $109.30
10-centsuperfecta (11-9-4-7) $236.90
$2 double (1-11), $19.40
50-cent pick 3 (5-1-11) $337.95

Mark More than 1 year ago
Rosario cost the best horse in the race the win. Dance Card . Watch replay. Going wide was a terrible decision . Stay inside he wins.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Not sure about that Mark, I didn't see room on the inside for Joel to shoot Dance Card through. I had her on my tckt also...she looked like a winner turning for home but she just flattened out when she got on even terms with Groupie and Judy.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
He not only went wide, he was almost in the grandstand. A very poor ride for sure.
Paula Smitherman More than 1 year ago
She sure is a special filly. I never lost confidence in her either and was so looking forward to this race for her, I felt like she would really shine here. She did not disappoint. What a classy, strong hearted girl. Much love to you, Doll!
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Got sick of hearing people say, "she's not the same filly she was last year." She's a sprinter, and she started off her year in a 1 1/16 mi. race, I think, against fillies that had recent races. Unsurprisingly, she lost but ran OK. Then she won in record time at Presque Isle against a filly on a hot streak, even though Tapita is not her favorite surface. Then she lost, but ran well, against Judy the Beauty, who proved today that she is extremely tough this year, better than observers were giving her credit for. All this time, G D was warming up to give her best effort at a track she likes, over the conventional dirt that she likes, at the seven-furlong distance she needs to really shine. So where is the evidence that she wasn't the same filly? I simply think she was off a little too long and started back racing a little too late to build up the same kind of record as last year's. Now that she is fully revved up again, I hope she runs in the Cigar mile again! Go, Groupie Doll.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Never any doubt.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Haven't heard a horse blow that hard after a 7F race in quite a while, but way to go, Groupie Doll, you crushed my pik4 and I still love ya!
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Congratulations Groupie Doll and the whole team!!!