10/10/2012 1:35PM

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint: Groupie Doll solidifies status as favorite

Email
Coady Photography
Groupie Doll surpassed $1 million in earnings with her win in the Thoroughbred Club of America.

Three prep races across the nation for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last weekend all featured odds-on favorites. Groupie Doll ($2.80) and Musical Romance ($3.20) came through with flying colors winning the Thoroughbred Club of America and Mike Sherman Memorial respectively; but previously unbeaten Winding Way ran herself off the radar screen finishing last of four behind second choice Rumor ($7.20) at 1-5 in the inaugural running of the L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Groupie Doll was idle four months after winning the Humana Distaff with a 112 Beyer Speed Figure, and returned in fine form winning the Presque Isle Masters, a race the last three Filly and Mare Sprint winners – Informed Decision (2009), Dubai Majesty (2010), and Musical Romance (2011) – all ran in. After some anxious moments awaiting room behind the leaders in Keeneland’s TCA Stakes, Groupie Doll found a seam and ran to daylight, notching her fourth straight blowout win and surpassing $1 million in earnings. She received an expense-paid trip to the Filly and Mare Sprint, for which she will be a clear-cut favorite.

“I got [to the test barn] and she was not even blowing hard. It was like she didn’t do anything,” said trainer Buff Bradley. “She was just telling me, ‘Let’s go home.’ ”

Despite appearing well within herself, Groupie Doll earned a 102 Beyer and looks primed for a big effort Nov. 3.

“I would like to let her stretch her legs out there and get her there a week before the race,” said Bradley.

After wrestling with the question of whether to give Musical Romance a final prep or train her up to a defense of her title, Bill Kaplan opted to run her in the Mike Sherman at her home base of Calder Race Course, and she ran down pacesetter Golden Mystery under a hand ride from Juan Leyva.

“She lives to race,” said Kaplan. “She’s got the whole thing figured out. If Juan tells her to go through a six-inch hole, by gosh she’ll try to.”

Meanwhile, Rumor posted her third win from five starts on Santa Anita’s dirt track, edging Great Host by a half-length in the L.A. Woman.

“The Breeders’ Cup is a possibility, but with her you never know which day works,” said trainer Richard Mandella. “Sometimes she’s there and sometimes she isn’t, so we’ll see how she comes out of this.”

Winding Way, who had won her first three starts on synthetic tracks, trailed throughout beneath Rafael Bejarano, who said, “She just didn’t fire.”