04/12/2012 4:40PM

Keeneland: Groupie Doll takes Vinery Madison by three

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Groupie Doll, with Rajiv Maragh up, wins the Vinery Madison.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - There is no such thing as magic blinkers, but after Groupie Doll swept to victory Thursday in the 11th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland, there was plenty of talk about how blinkers helped the 4-year-old filly keep her focus.

"I think they helped a lot," said Rajiv Maragh, who guided Groupie Doll to a three-length score in the seven-furlong Madison. "They helped get her up into the race without doing too much. When I asked her, she really came with her run. She's got a lot of power."

Groupie Doll, trained by Buff Bradley, returned $9.80 as second choice in a field of eight fillies and mares after finishing in 1:23.76 over Polytrack. She's Cheeky, a 20-1 shot, rallied to be second, with Ariana D another 3 1/2 lengths back in third. Musical Romance, the reigning divisional champion and 9-5 favorite, was part of the early pace before settling for fourth, another length back.

Groupie Doll narrowly missed in her only prior start over the Keeneland Poly,  the Grade 2 Raven Run last fall. After racing five more times, Bradley said he finally decided to use quarter-cup blinkers on the filly on the advice of several jockeys, including Maragh.

"She'd trained really well in them, and obviously she ran big in them today," he said.

Bradley bred Groupie Doll, by Bowman's Band, in Kentucky with his father, Fred Bradley. The Bradleys co-own the filly with Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. The Bradleys are best known for their success with millionaire Brass Hat. "This filly's a special one, too," said Buff Bradley.

Groupie Doll, now a winner in 5 of 12 starts, earned $180,000 to lift her bankroll to $488,756. She is a prime candidate to run back in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on the May 5 Kentucky Derby undercard.

On a sunny afternoon, and before 10,421 ontrack fans, Musical Romance was eager early when engaging Home Sweet Aspen for the long run down the backstretch. By mid-turn, Whipsaw City had surged to the lead with Julien Leparoux aboard, but that outside run proved premature, as all the back runners went past down the lane.

After Musical Romance, the order was Whipsaw City, Sugarinthemorning, Whisked Away, and Home Sweet Aspen. La Reine Lionne and Future Generation were early scratches.

The $2 exacta (8-7) paid $131.40, the $1 trifecta (8-7-9) returned $493.10, and the dime superfecta was worth $217.25.

The Madison was the first of four Grade 1 events to be run at Keeneland in a three-day span, with the Maker's 46 Mile following on Friday and the Jenny Wiley and Blue Grass Stakes set for Saturday.