01/23/2013 4:08PM

Gulfstream Park: A listless Groupie Doll will get extended vacation

Barbara D. Livingston
Groupie Doll will be taken of training and pointed to a fall campaign.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Groupie Doll, an almost unanimous choice as female sprint champion in 2012, will return to Buff Bradley’s farm in Kentucky for some additional rest after not training to her trainer’s satisfaction since her arrival at Gulfstream Park just before the start of the New Year.

Groupie Doll won five straight graded stakes, culminating with her easy victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint before concluding her championship campaign missing by a nose to Stay Thirsty after a thrilling stretch run in Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Bradley gave Groupie Doll a break on the farm after the Cigar Mile before shipping her to south Florida on the final weekend of 2012. She spiked a mild temperature shortly after her arrival, recovered quickly, but was just not herself, according to Bradley, once finally able to resume training last week.

“She just wasn’t as willing on the racetrack as we’d hoped,” Bradley said by phone from Tampa Bay Downs, where he ran two horses Wednesday. “She feels good around the barn, but I can tell she’s not as happy as she was before. She’s just not wanting to do it right now for whatever reason. She’s never shown anything like this, which is what concerns me a bit. I talked to my dad and our other two partners, and we were all in agreement to give her some more time on the farm.”

Bradley said there is no thought, at this time, of pulling the plug on Groupie Doll’s career and sending her to the breeding shed this season.

“Not one of the four of us want to stop on her for good,” Bradley said. “We’re not even thinking about breeding. It’s not an option unless something else was to turn up. Our main goal is to race her, have her out there for the public, as long as she won’t be jeopardized in any way.”

Bradley said he is hopeful he can have Groupie Doll back for a late summer and fall campaign, culminating with a defense of her title in the Breeders’ Cup.

“We’ll miss the Inside Information here and the first two races from her streak last year, which is disappointing,” Bradley said referring to Groupie Doll’s Grade 1 victories in the Madison and Humana Distaff. “But I feel good about our chances of having her back for those last three races she won a year ago, including the Breeders’ Cup.”

Bradley said winning the Eclipse Award last Saturday has helped take some of the sting out of having to stop on Groupie Doll for the time being.

“The timing of the award was good,” Bradley said. “None of our partners are down a bit. We’ll just send her back to the farm, and I’ll leave it up to my wife Kim and Brass Hat to get her right again.”

Bradley said Groupie Doll will remain here with him at Gulfstream for the time being.

“I haven’t even arranged for a van yet,” Bradley said. “I want to wait for the weather to break up there a little before we send her back.”