02/09/2014 2:48PM

Gulfstream Park: Groupie Doll goes out a winner in Hurricane Bertie

Tom Keyser
Groupie Doll, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, takes the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sunday to cap her career.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – As good as Groupie Doll was in winning her career finale Sunday – and she was sensational – owner Mandy Pope has to be tempted to run the 6-year-old mare another time or two this year, doesn’t she?

“Well, this was our plan,” Pope said, referring to the Hurricane Bertie being the last race for Groupie Doll. She then added with a laugh: “And it’d be nice to stick to a plan for once.”

Groupie Doll crushed the opposition in the Grade 3, $200,000 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park, winning by seven lengths after trailing early and passing all six of her rivals with ease. It was a raw display of superiority, as jockey Rajiv Maragh asked very little of the two-time female sprint champion after it became obvious that she would win comfortably.

Groupie Doll returned $2.80 as a huge favorite after finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.68 over a fast track. Five Star Momma was second, and Wildcat Lily was third.

“I’m happy for the mare, and I’m just so happy to be part of this experience,” said Pope, who purchased Groupie Doll at auction for $3.1 million on Nov. 6, four days after the mare won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint for the second straight year to clinch a second straight divisional Eclipse Award.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

There was conjecture after the Breeders’ Cup that Groupie Doll had run her last race, but under the pink and gold silks of Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm, the mare ran back four weeks later in the Cigar Mile, finishing fourth, with Pope eventually announcing that the Hurricane Bertie would be her last hurrah.

For weeks, Pope and trainer Buff Bradley had insisted that the Hurricane Bertie would indeed be the mare’s swan song. Accordingly, the Gulfstream crowd paid the chestnut mare due homage, giving her a warm, long, and loud ovation as she entered the winner’s circle for the 12th time following her 23rd career start.

“That was really nice,” said Bradley, who co-bred and co-owned Groupie Doll before she was sold. “It was a great way to send her off. Just tremendous. What a great, great mare she’s been for me and my family.”

Groupie Doll earned $120,000 and retires with a bankroll of $2,648,850. She is booked to be bred to Tapit later this month.

The $2 exacta (1-5) paid $21.80, the $1 trifecta (1-5-7) returned $61.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-5-7-2) was worth $17.44.

Scott More than 1 year ago
Truly impressive!!!
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
GD is one classy mare with a big heart. Hate to see her retire. I think she could beat the boys going 6 -1/2 - 7f on her best day. I hope she transfers her class on-track exploits to her offspring.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
sufraged my dear friend. If "average" mares shade track records (as Groupie Doll just did in this race) pry'tell, what do above average mares do? Shatter course records on the daily? Sir?
TheRaiderFan More than 1 year ago
Always great to see a champion go out on top, GD certainly earned her retirement. Great career.
sufraged More than 1 year ago
she's just an average mare.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Ok, then tell us who a great mare is?
Hail No More than 1 year ago
If you meant, "one of the gutsiest, grittiest, relentless, quickest and classiest mares" you'd be correct..
jttf More than 1 year ago
very good in 2012. her first race was in the summer of her three year old season. no lasix use while she matured is a big plus.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
how did someone down vote this?
jttf More than 1 year ago
i dont know why ? groupie doll and mizdirection both were repeat breeders cup champions. both made their debut well into their three year old season. both won their first grade 1 race in their 12th start. similar to lea.
Matt D. More than 1 year ago
A date with Tapit or a date with destiny? Three for three at Santa Anita beckons!
WWW More than 1 year ago
if 5 Star Momma ran 2nd, that sez plenty....that horse has had more back to back dream trips than I can count
Joe Marcello More than 1 year ago
Slingshot win, love this horse. Would love to see her give it another go or two, but that may be a bit selfish?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Where are all the posters who were against GD running? So glad she did, so glad she ran like a monster today. Also glad to see Will Take Charge run today. He will be much better in his subsequent races.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
I had no problem with her running. I wish it would be against legit competition. I did an experiment with 3 people that are NOT race fans. I showed them that race, and then I showed them another race on the card. I did not tell them who was the "beast of a horse" and who was just another horse that won a cheap claimer. They were more impressed with the stretch long battle in the cheap claimer. watching these great horses make mince meat out of these clearly outclassed horses, is not gaining fans. We need big match ups. Big name horse, vs Big name horses.
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
It was her last race, and they wanted to get her a win. I see nothing wrong with that. It's not as if Groupie Doll was running in a $10,000 allowance--this was a Grade II race. The owner also couldn't help who showed up for it. Honestly, so what if the race didn't impress your friends? It was an impressive swan song by a champion, and real fans will recognize it for being that.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
Real fans like myself enjoy it. Casual fans prefer excitement and betable races. With these top level horses 4/5 are not betable. You cant bet any of this horses races or Wise Dan. WTC is a nice horse...... but no monster as you saw. Why other quality horses dodged him here in the Donn is besides me. The day of great rivalries is past and sadly... those rivalries brought stories intrigue and fans
Walter More than 1 year ago
Key point is they were not race fans. Groupie Doll was extremely visually impressive. She broke very slowly, and we know how GP can favor speed horses. She caught the field, went widest of all horses and drew off. If Rajiv got after her even a little bit, she would've broken a track record. (I'm not critiquing his ride at all) I'm not sure what else she could've done. We all would love to see big match ups, but those only happen 1-2 times a year.