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Updated on 05/05/2012 4:53PM
Churchill Downs: Groupie Doll dominates in Humana Distaff
By Marcus Hersh
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Those who witnessed the Humana Distaff on Saturday at Churchill Downs would find it difficult imagining that at this moment there’s a better one-turn filly anywhere than Groupie Doll.
Groupie Doll, pressing the pace of Mildly Offensive, dragged jockey Rajiv Maragh to the lead partway around the far turn and blistered the stretch run, beating Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champ Musical Romance by 7 1/4 lengths to win the Grade 1, $334,500 Humana Distaff. Her seven-furlong time of 1:20.44 established a Churchill Downs track record, eclipsing the mark of 1:20.50 Alannan set winning the Churchill Downs Handicap on May 5, 2001.
“I didn’t want to make the lead when I did, but I also didn’t want to take her run away,” Maragh said. “It’s nice when the horse makes you look good like that.”
Groupie Doll, a 4-year-old Bowman’s Band filly bred by trainer William “Buff” Bradley and his father, Fred Bradley, and owned by the Bradleys, Carl Hurst, and Brent Burns, won her second straight Grade 1 race, a double that includes victories on Polytrack (in the Madison last month) and dirt. Buff Bradley added blinkers to Groupie Doll’s equipment package in the Madison, hoping to get the filly into her races sooner, and that move has produced awesome results. Groupie Doll broke alertly, sat right behind Mildly Offensive through fractions of 22.42 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, set the half-mile split of 44.57, and charged past three-quarters in 1:08.04, racing alone and in the clear.
“She got into the race right away, and she actually made the lead earlier than I expected,” said Bradley, who campaigned the last Bradley-owned and -bred star, Brass Hat. “When she had the lead at the quarter pole, I knew she was home.”
Musical Romance finished more than five lengths clear of the show horse, Magical Feeling, but was overpowered by the winner.
“My filly ran a great race,” trainer William Kaplan said. “I’m very proud of her.”
Groupie Doll, heavily bet late down to 3-1 favoritism, paid $8.20 to win. Behind third-place Magical Feeling came Mildly Offensive, Switch, Sassy Image, Salty Strike, Hot Summer, and Fantasy of Flight.
Bradley said Groupie Doll, who now has won 6 of 13 starts, would be sent to the Bradley farm near Frankfort, Ky., for “a little rest,” perhaps up to six weeks. He said there were no specific plans for the rest of her 2012 campaign.
“I haven’t looked past this race yet,” Bradley said.
Surely, he will enjoy looking regularly back upon it.
Buff gave me and my wife and family and friends the opportunity to spend the day with them on the backside Derby Day. It was an experience I'll always look back on with much joy and many good memories. It was "Aweaome".
Awesome performance, Buff! Congratulations to Buff, Fred and my old frat brother Carl. I'm proud of all you've done! Don C.
That was truly spectacular to watch! What a nice filly, couldn't happen to a better group of people!
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