09/07/2013 1:15PM

Presque Isle Downs: Groupie Doll has no excuses in Masters

Tom Keyser
In her 2013 debut, Groupie Doll was third as the 1-5 favorite in last month's Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park.

Her most recent loss came with a ready-made excuse, but if Groupie Doll somehow gets beaten as she defends her title Monday evening in the Presque Isle Downs Masters, well, things might be a little harder to explain.

Trainer Buff Bradley said Saturday at his Churchill Downs base that he certainly hopes to avoid that discomfiting position. Bradley said he has been very satisfied with Groupie Doll as the 2012 female sprint champion prepared to make her second start of the year Monday in the Grade 2, $400,000 Masters for fillies and mares at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa.

“I think she’s going into this really well,” he said. “She’s had two good half-mile works since her race at Ellis and galloped out real strong. She drew real well toward the outside, so we’re happy with that. Everything is good going in.”

Groupie Doll, with Rajiv Maragh riding again, will break from post 10, while her chief threat, Judy the Beauty, will break right alongside her in post 9 with David Flores aboard. Groupie Doll has been pegged by the track as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 11.

In her first start in more than eight months, Groupie Doll finished third as the 1-5 favorite in the Aug. 10 Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park. Her overall record is 9 wins from 18 starts, with earnings of $1,668,850.

The Masters, which goes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the Tapeta synthetic surface, is carded as the sixth of eight Monday races. First post is 5:25 p.m. Eastern, with the feature set for 7:40. The race will be shown live on TVG.

Last year, Groupie Doll rolled to a 3 3/4-length victory in the Masters amid a five-race win streak that ended with a romp in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Bradley, who owns the 5-year-old Groupie Doll with his father, Fred, and with Brent Burns and Carl Hurst, has mapped out an identical end-of-year plan for her, with the next starts coming in the Oct. 5 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland and the Nov. 1 BC Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.

Judy the Beauty, owned and trained by Wesley Ward, was scratched from the Aug. 23 Ballerina at Saratoga when she acted up at the starting gate.

“Maybe that was a blessing since she didn’t get seriously hurt,” Ward said. “I wouldn’t have been able to run back so quick in this, so maybe we’ll get lucky, and it’ll all work out.”

Judy the Beauty, a 4-year-old Ontario-bred, has 4 wins and 6 seconds from 10 career starts. The speedy filly is unbeaten in three starts over synthetic surfaces.

Under allowance conditions, Groupie Doll will carry only 112 pounds, and Judy the Beauty totes 115. The weights range from 110 to 118 for the others.