08/17/2012 1:49PM

Churchill Downs: Groupie Doll may make return at Presque Isle

Tom Keyser
Groupie Doll, romping winner of the Humana Distaff but then hampered by a hock injury, may have two prep races instead of one leading up to the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.

Groupie Doll, the leading candidate for a 2012 Eclipse Award in the filly-mare sprint decision, continues to progress toward a comeback from a minor hock injury. The 4-year-old filly had her third workout since returning to training when she breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Thursday morning at her home track, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Groupie Doll is doing so well that Buff Bradley, who trains Groupie Doll for himself and his father, Fred, is contemplating two prep races instead of one leading up to the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.

“She came off the track bouncing,” said Bradley. “She is doing very well. We may look to run her at Presque Isle Downs” in the Grade 2, $400,000 Masters, the Pennsylvania track’s signature race, on Sept. 8. The 6 1/2-furlong Masters is run on a synthetic surface, as is the next likely stepping-stone for Groupie Doll, the six-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Oct. 6 at Keeneland.

The Thursday work followed half-mile breezes on Aug. 3 and Aug. 9. Groupie Doll is the only filly-mare sprinter to have won as many as two Grade 1 races in North America this year. She followed a three-length score in the Vinery Madison at Keeneland in April with a record-setting, 7 1/4-length romp in the Humana Distaff on the May 5 Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill.

After the Humana, Bradley sent Groupie Doll to the family’s farm in Frankfort, Ky., for a brief rest, with the intent of bringing her back for the Grade 1 Ballerina, which will be run next Saturday on the Travers undercard at Saratoga. But Bradley had to scuttle those plans when the filly’s training was interrupted by the hock injury shortly after she returned to the track. A program of cold-water therapy and other treatments promoted her healing, and she returned to Churchill in early July to resume jogging and galloping.