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Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll: Standout sprinter arises from modest beginnings
By Nicole Russo
courtesy Lane's End
Co-bred and owned in majority by trainer Buff Bradley and his father, Fred, Groupie Doll has accumulated a list of achievements that easily stand as the best among her immediate family. The champion female sprinter for 2012 is the only graded stakes winner by her late sire, Bowman's Band, and was the final foal out of her dam, the winning Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll.
Bowman's Band, by Dixieland Band, died in 2008 at age 10 from complications of colic surgery after completing four seasons at stud, beginning his career in Maryland before moving to Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., where Groupie Doll was conceived in his penultimate season. In all, he has produced 112 winners from 189 foals of racing age for total progeny earnings of $9,636,708. Many of his 12 other stakes winners aside from Groupie Doll earned their black type on the Midlantic circuit.
As a racehorse, Bowman’s Band never achieved Grade 1 status, but in a busy career he did display the sort of late-blooming development that his champion daughter would emulate. Out of stakes winner and 1987 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Hometown Queen, by Pleasant Colony, Bowman’s Band was purchased for $260,000 by Martin Schwartz at the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training but did not make his first start until age three—a 5 1/2-length win going seven furlongs at Belmont in June 2001. He won two of his remaining three starts that year, and then raced a total of 30 more times in the next three years, first for Michael Matz and then H. Allen Jerkens.
Bowman’s Band produced his career-best performance in fall 2003, taking the Grade 2 Meadowlands Breeders’ Cup Stakes at 1 1/8 miles by 1 3/4 lengths over Dynever. In 2004, he failed to reach the winner’s circle in 12 starts but consistently built Schwartz’s bankroll with a series of graded stakes placings, including a second in the Grade 1 Met Mile and thirds in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special, Whitney Handicap, and Woodward Stakes. Overall, hard-trying Bowman’s Band racked up seven wins, 11 seconds, and six thirds from 34 starts and earned over $1.3 million.
A longtime Thoroughbred breeder and former Kentucky state senator, Fred Bradley purchased Deputy Doll for $25,000 out of the Walnut Green consignment at the 1997 Keeneland September yearling sale. She subsequently won two of 14 career starts, both at Mountaineer Park, and earned $23,615.
Groupie Doll—who thus far has won three Grade 1 events for earnings of over $1.6 million—is by far the most accomplished of Deputy Doll's runners. The mare has produced one other winner from three starters, her 2006 Gilded Time filly Time Doesn't Wait, who took four of 10 career starts for earnings of $28,244.
Deputy Doll was struck by lightning and died in early 2012 at age 17. She was one of seven winners out of the unraced Best Turn mare Slick Turn. Slick Turn's progeny include stakes winner Russellthemussell, stakes-placed Slick Report, and stakes producers Slick Turn Baby and Mickis Dancer.
Slick Turn’s dam—Groupie Doll’s third dam—is the winning Bold Favorite mare Bold Flora. Bold Flora produced stakes winner Turn Bold, a full sister to Slick Turn, and Grade 1 winner Rootentootenwooten, who is the second dam of Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed It’s Tea Time.
Excavating Groupie Doll’s female family through another generation reveals even more class. Her fourth dam, Floral Park, by Alibhai, is a full sister to Flower Bowl, one of the premier broodmares of the 20th century and the namesake for Belmont’s traditional fall turf Grade 1 stakes for fillies and mares. Flower Bowl produced champion and graded stakes producer Bowl of Flowers and prominent sires His Majesty and Graustark. Floral Park herself produced three foals in addition to Bold Flora that became stakes producers, most prominently Patriotic Petunia, second dam of Group 1 winner and sire Prorutori, Grade 2 winner Ivanavinalot, and stakes winner and sire Crafty Dude.
Groupie Doll is the second standout homebred for the Bradleys, who own Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort, Ky. They also campaigned Grade 1 winner and fan favorite Brass Hat, who earned over $2.1 million.
To read more about Groupie Doll's Eclipse Award-winning season, click here.
Look at that picture, above, of Groupie Doll. She is a gorgeous horse! She is a standout. I admired Groupie Doll before reading her history, but after reading her story of modest beginnings, and how she came from horses who tried hard and gave you the best the could give, I pull for this beautiful champion filly more. She is the best her mother, who was tragically fatally struck by lightning, has given birth to, and Groupie Doll is doing her mother so proud! Groupie Doll is a champion of the first calibre and it will be a pleasure to see her improve with age and get even better (and she's already at the top of the totem pole in her division right now) with age. I hope she has more Eclipse Awards in her future. And I hope to see her become a mom to beautiful champions like she is in the future. Go, Groupie Doll, Go!