09/11/2013 1:24PM

Churchill Downs: Groupie Doll has tough road ahead

Coady Photography
Groupie Doll will start once at Keeneland prior to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – If setting a track record is the standard for being back in peak form, then Groupie Doll is up to par, having done so in winning the Presque Isle Downs Masters on Monday night in Pennsylvania.

Groupie Doll returned Tuesday to Churchill Downs “in great shape,” according to trainer Buff Bradley, and attention now shifts to the next two races for the 2012 filly-mare sprint champion, those being the Oct. 5 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland and the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.

Bradley acknowledged that repeating in the Breeders’ Cup might be more difficult than last year, when Groupie Doll was the 7-10 favorite in prevailing by 4 1/2 lengths. For one, the mare has had just two races this year – as opposed to how she came to Santa Anita last year on a four-race win tear, including a track-record triumph in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill. For another, the opposition this year seems deeper and more formidable, considering how impressive several of her prospective foes have been in recent months, most notably Reneesgotzip, Dance to Bristol, and Book Review.

“I know those other fillies are out there, but I haven’t paid that much attention,” said Bradley. “I’ve just really been focused on getting my mare right. We’re running in the Breeders’ Cup no matter what, so I can’t worry about what all the others are doing.”

Bradley said he is “tickled to death” with how Groupie Doll came out of the Masters. “She’s walking good, eating up everything, and she’s perky, although I’m sure she’s pretty tired,” he said. “She’ll walk an extra day before I send her back to the track Saturday.”

Bradley said Groupie Doll probably will have two half-mile breezes leading up to the six-furlong TCA, both under her regular exercise rider, Jada Schlenk.

Ms Anna Destiny on top of her game

The highlight of a 10-race Saturday card at Churchill is the $100,000 Open Mind, a six-furlong race that drew six fillies and mares, including Ms Anna Destiny, a winner of her last two races, the most recent being an undercard stakes on West Virginia Derby Day at Mountaineer Park.

“It looks to me like all six fillies are pretty well matched in there,” said Brad Cox, who claimed Ms Anna Destiny for $32,000 in May at Churchill on behalf of Lloyd Schwing Racing.

“Our mare has really come around the last couple of months. She had a great work here last Saturday and did it the right way. She’s set up for her career best. If she can ever compete with these fillies, it’ll be Saturday.”

This Saturday and the next (Sept. 21) are day cards at Churchill, while Downs After Dark returns for the final Saturday, Sept. 28. The 12-day meet ends Sept. 29.

Infrattini working his way back

Churchill track-record holder Infrattini was scheduled for a second breeze Thursday following his return from ankle surgery, said trainer Paul McGee. Infrattini set the Churchill mark for a mile (1:33.31) last November.

McGee also said Dubious Miss has been retired after an unsuccessful comeback attempt in the spring. The 9-year-old gelding won 10 of 37 starts and $603,183 for owner-breeder David Holloway.

Don’t Tell Sophia almost ready

Trainer Phil Sims said Wednesday from Keeneland that his star mare Don’t Tell Sophia will be ready to run again by the opening of the Keeneland fall meet Oct. 4.

Don’t Tell Sophia, a winner in 6 of 14 starts, has been off since finishing third in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, where she romped in two stakes earlier at the meet.