08/13/2011 5:54PM

Ellis Park: Groupie Doll hints she may be next stable star for Bradleys by taking Gardenia


Trainer Buff Bradley and his father, Fred, saw the departure of the stable star in May when multimillionaire Brass Hat was retired.  But it seems it took their modest stable just a few months to find another one, or at least a star in the making.

Groupie Doll turned in that kind of a performance Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park, dominating a full field of older rivals in her stakes bow and pushing her record to 3 for 4.

Although never having faced the likes of the opposition she raced against Saturday in the Gardenia, it never showed in her effort. She positioned herself in comfortable stalking position in fifth early, as 9-5 favorite Tidal Pool set and uncontested but swift pace of 23.59 seconds and 46.88 in the one-mile race.

Coming into the stretch, as Stage Magic began to engage Tidal Pool on the lead, it looked as if that duo might end up battling though the lane, but that scenario quickly evaporated, as Groupie Doll shot through a hole on the inside under jockey Greta Kuntzweiler.

Groupie Doll quickly opened up on the field, and drew away to three-length victory over Secret File, who belatedly rallied to finish second, 3  3/4lengths ahead of third-place Stage Magic.

Tidal Pool faded to fifth.

The win was the biggest victory for Kuntzweiler since she returned to riding in the summer of 2010 after being regranted a jockey’s license following drug problems and convictions a few years earlier.

Groupie Doll, like Brass Hat, is a Bradley family homebred. A 3-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band, she won her third straight race in taking the Gardenia after being eighth on turf in her debut at Churchill Downs in June.

She raced a mile on a fast track in 1:37.37 and paid $17.40.