08/13/2017 7:13PM

Trainer Cox stays hot as Tiger Moth takes Groupie Doll

Coady Photography
Jockey Corey Lanerie won his first Groupie Doll aboard Tiger Moth on Sunday.

HENDERSON, Ky. – After winning stakes last weekend at Saratoga, Mountaineer, and Louisiana Downs, trainer Brad Cox won a 2017 stakes race at yet another track Sunday when Tiger Moth swooped to victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Groupie Doll at Ellis Park.

This victory, unlike some of Cox’s stakes wins from last weekend, didn’t come easily. Tiger Moth was 10th of 11 early in the Groupie Doll, as Put Da Blame On Me was hustled to the lead and set splits of 45.79 seconds and 1:10.37 in the mile race on the Ellis main track.

Leaving the turn, the late runners began to close the gap on the frontrunners, and the Groupie Doll appeared to be anyone’s race. But Tiger Moth kept steadily grinding away with her rally, outfinishing fellow closer and runner-up Walkabout to win by three quarters of a length.

In riding Tiger Moth to victory, jockey Corey Lanerie won his first Groupie Doll, formerly called the Gardenia Stakes, the longtime signature race of the Ellis Park meet. But he wasn’t so confident coming into the lane that he was going to win, seeing that Walkabout, under Brian Hernandez Jr., had been able to save ground and split horses.

Lanerie’s mount simply proved to be the superior mare, and notched a deserving graded stakes victory, the first of her career.

“I went really wide, a lot wider than I normally would have went,” Lanerie said. “I felt like I went a mile and an eighth."

He waved his whip in celebration upon crossing the wire, and later said it was rewarding to win the Groupie Doll at Ellis Park, where he is a three-time leading rider and tops the current-meet standings.

Walkabout, a half sister to Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned and winner of the Grade 3 Matron at Churchill Downs this spring, finished two lengths in front of third-place Danzatrice.

None of the early leaders were in contention at the finish, including favored Put Da Blame On Me, who faded to sixth.

A 5-year-old daughter of Street Sense owned by breeder John Gunther, Tiger Moth raced a mile on a fast track in 1:36.30, paying $9.40 as the second favorite.

Cliff Guilliams

A race before the Groupie Doll on Sunday at Ellis, Flatlined picked up his first victory in five starts since winning the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 14 at Gulfstream Park in taking the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams by a half-length.

Flatlined rallied from 12 lengths off the pace, getting up late to defeat One Mean Man by a neck in a race in which the top four finishers were separated by a length.

One Go All Go, the early pacesetter, edged favored Pleuven for the show.

Four horses – Chocolate Ride, Grey Wizard, Dawn Raider, and Sir Dudley Digges – were scratched, reducing the field to eight runners.

Flatlined, a 5-year-old Flatter gelding trained by Scooter Dickey for owners Brian Hytrek, Rodney Paden, and Ryan Kuhn, completed 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course under Joe Rocco Jr. in 1:41.67. He paid $17.20.