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Kentucky notes: Groupie Doll back to work after minor injury
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Groupie Doll, the leading candidate for a 2012 Eclipse Award in the filly-mare sprint decision, had her first workout since recovering from a minor hock injury when breezing a half-mile in 49.40 seconds Friday morning over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Buff Bradley, who bred and co-owns the standout 4-year-old filly with his father, Fred Bradley, said he is very pleased with the progress Groupie Doll has made in recent weeks.
“It was a nice, easy move this morning, and she came back good,” Bradley said.
Groupie Doll is the only filly-mare sprinter to have won as many as two Grade 1 races this year, having followed a three-length score in the Vinery Madison at Keeneland in April with a 7 1/4-length track-record romp in the Humana Distaff on the May 5 Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill.
Bradley sent her to the family’s farm in Frankfort, Ky., for a brief rest after the Humana, with the intent of bringing her back for the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 25 at Saratoga, but those plans had to be scuttled when the filly’s training was interrupted by the hock injury shortly after she returned to the track. A program of cold-water therapy and other treatments promoted her healing, and she returned to Churchill several weeks ago to resume jogging and galloping.
Bradley said he is hopeful Groupie Doll will be fully ready for the Grade 3, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, a six-furlong race that will serve as her prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“I guess we could maybe have her ready to run once before then, but the timing and circumstances would have to be just perfect, so it’s more than likely that we’ll just focus in on the TCA,” Bradley said. “Obviously, our hope is to have her at a peak for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Joyful Victory set for Gardenia
The highlight of the Ellis Park meet comes next Saturday, Aug. 11, with the Grade 3, $100,000 Gardenia Stakes, the only graded race at the Henderson, Ky., track.
Joyful Victory, with a series of sharp recent works over the local surface, could be a solid favorite in the Gardenia, although obviously that will depend on who goes against her. The nominations list of 25 fillies and mares includes such interesting names as Sassy Image, Salty Strike, Juanita, and Remit. Entries will be taken Sunday.
This will be the 31st running of the Gardenia, which is run out of the clubhouse chute at a mile on the main track. Last year, Groupie Doll was a three-length winner of the Gardenia in her stakes debut.
Broadcaster has small stake in filly
A 3 1/2-length victory by a 2-year-old named Dancinginthecircle in the third race last Sunday at Ellis led to several media reports that the filly was owned in part by Kirk Herbstreit, who has become widely known for his work as an ESPN broadcaster on college football. The filly was making her career debut for trainer Larry Jones and races solely in the name of owner Bret Jones (son of former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, and no relation to the trainer).
“Kirk only has a small piece of the filly, and I have no idea how all that got out about him,” said Bret Jones. “I think he’s pretty content not to have any publicity about this.”
Dancinginthecircle, from the first crop of 8-year-old Divine Park, earned a 65 Beyer Speed Figure in the six-furlong race.
◗ The touching story that HRTV first aired last August on the Radosevich family has earned the racing network another regional Emmy Award. “Inside Information: Radosevich” concerned the family’s decision to continue their work in racing, despite the death of apprentice rider Josh Radosevich in a Beulah Park spill in November 2005. The network was awarded an Emmy in the Ohio Valley Regional in the “Sports, one-time special” category. It was the third time in the past four years that HRTV has won an Ohio Valley Emmy.
◗ The only allowance on a nine-race Sunday card at Ellis serves as the feature, and a handful of the big-time Kentucky stables are represented, including those of Bill Mott, Ian Wilkes, Neil Howard, and Lynn Whiting. The favorite’s role in the $33,000 first-level turf mile is likely to go to Putthebabiesdown, trained by Ken McPeek. First post is 12:50 p.m. Central.
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