08/10/2013 5:17PM

Ellis Park: Devious Intent wins Gardenia; Groupie Doll third at 1-5

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HENDERSON, Ky. – Devious Intent posted her first career stakes victory Saturday in the 32nd running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Gardenia Stakes, although the far bigger story was about the champion who failed to get her seventh stakes score.

Groupie Doll was the 1-5 favorite in a field of nine fillies and mares in the Gardenia, the annual signature race at Ellis Park, but could do no better than third in her first start in 8 1/2 months.

“That’s racing, isn’t it?” said her trainer, Buff Bradley. “Sure we’re disappointed, but I’m still glad we came here. This should set us up for bigger things down the road.”

Devious Intent, ridden by Roberto Morales, returned $33.80 with her fourth win from 15 starts. Kellyn Gorder trains the 4-year-old Dixie Union filly for the TK Stables of Kevin Hulse.

Morales, who turns 23 on Wednesday and held a narrow lead atop the Ellis standings through the end of action Saturday, said he “rode to instructions. From the quarter pole to the wire the horse kept running.”

On a warm and humid afternoon, Magic Hour set the pace in the one-mile Gardenia, with Devious Intent giving closest chase. Meanwhile, Rajiv Maragh tried to settle Groupie Doll into a comfortable rhythm after a minor stumble at the break and while mixed in traffic through the first quarter-mile. Maragh eventually worked his way to the far outside, and approaching the quarter pole, and Groupie Doll looked every bit a winner as she loomed boldly while taking dead aim on the top pair.

But the layoff and perhaps the distance proved her undoing, as her bid stalled and she finished a length behind Devious Intent on the wire. Magic Hour, a 26-1 shot for rider Leandro Goncalves and trainer Ian Wilkes, was second by a neck while racing closest to the rail. The winner finished in 1:34.97 over a fast track.

“We knew coming in we might be up against it,” said Bradley, who also co-owns Groupie Doll, the 2012 filly-mare sprint champion. “And that’s okay. Obviously we’re hoping she’ll move up from this. We’ve got three more races on our schedule,” those being the Presque Isle Masters, the Thoroughbred Club of America, and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, all of which Groupie Doll won last year.

The $2 exacta (9-6) paid $334, the $1 trifecta (9-6-2) returned $758.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (9-6-2-11) was worth $1,013.50.

Dixie Strike, Assets of War, and Ciguaraya were early scratches, leaving nine fillies and mares.

Benjamin Gay More than 1 year ago
It's too early to tell how Groupie Doll will do this year. She is training well and absolutely needed the race. I would say her trainer/breeder/owner has a better idea of how to handle the horse than ANYONE else. The Masters at Presque Isle should be very telling.
God More than 1 year ago
Groupie Doll was away 8 1/2 months and she came up short. Happens all the time. I bet she'll be closer to 100% next race.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
The trainer flat out said "we gave her a long layoff because she didn't wan to train anymore". I knew she was going to loose....but I couldn't find the horse who was gonna beat her.
W.G. More than 1 year ago
Groupie Doll raced fine in a race she clearly needed. She needed to be much closer to the pace early because it was the very soft early fractions that killed her chances in the race (half in :47 2/5 and mile in 1:34 4/5). Last half mile was very respectable, she will move forward off that effort.
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
This horse running for one hundred grand tells me somethings wrong.
RockaFelter21 More than 1 year ago
I agree that igar mile may have ruined her..she doesn't have much else to prove I would just retire her
W.G. More than 1 year ago
It was her first start back off an eight-month layoff. She clearly needed the start and the slow pace early was the problem. She will be better in her next start.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
As I mentioned last year, It was not a good idea to run Groupie Doll against the boys for this 1 reason, Running a filly against the boys takes its toll on any level of racing.(except for the Queen). Groupie Doll was suppose to win this race from a 8 1/2 layoff. A spot alot lesser of whom she ran against in the past. She tryed, but you can say she got tired. Hopefully she can regroup out of this 1 and come back to the level where she showed her best. Not a fan of girls against the boys since Rags to Riches paid the ultimate price when she won the Belmont Stakes over Curlin in a short feild. Filly left her Heart and Soul on that track. Keep the fillies with the mares and visa versa. Did people really think that Dreaming of Julia had any sort of chance in this years Derby against Beasts like Orb and company because she was faster in the Gulfstream Oaks 24 hrs earlier than the Florida Derby, crazy. Boys will be boys and keep the girls with girls.........
Perl More than 1 year ago
Rags to Riches did not pay the ultimate price. For the ultimate price, see Ruffian.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Your right about Ruffian, ok, Rags to Riches, deeply wounded........
John Howland More than 1 year ago
Girls run against boys all the time in Europe,Dubai,etc. without repercussions.Why is it only a problem here?
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Where not in Europe or Dubai..........
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a bit strange that Buff Bradley didn't sound all that confident about Groupie Doll going into this race, now we know why. The same reason he took her out of training this past winter; this might not be the same Groupie Doll we saw lar year.
John Howland More than 1 year ago
Executive Privilege,The Lumber Guy,My Miss Aurelia and Groupie Doll.They all tried to cram 1 more race in after the BC and year's end.Where are they now?
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Good point, I think Buff should've given her that break after the BC we'd be seeing a much better Groupie Doll. Anyway my two cents.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Back to sprints for Groupie Doll. A mile first race back in almost 9 months wasn't an easy task. She's at her best at 6-7 furlongs. Buff knows this and it will be back to the tried and true formula from last year. There's nothing wrong with goin to the well if you know there's still a bunch of water in it. Let her do what she does best. Injuries aside, she'll be there for the big filly and mare sprint at the Breeder's Cup. Wise Dan, Game on Dude, and Groupie Doll will largely following similar paths as years past. Even so, Wise Dan still figures to make 2 and maybe 3 more starts in grade 1s, and Game on Dude has 3 grade 1s on his schedule still to go. They're running in the big races they are supposed to be in. If you don't like them winning, then beat them.