Horse Racing: Groupie Doll to race at Keeneland Saturday

By EMILY PATTON/epatton@state-journal.com Published:

Groupie Doll is making one more stop on her path to the Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred Championships in California. This time it is close to home for fans of the local favorite.

The 4-year-old champion will race in Keeneland’s $200,000 “Win and You’re In” Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Saturday. Post-time is 3:45 p.m.

Buff Bradley of Frankfort trains and owns the chestnut mare along with his father, Fred, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns, and encourages those in the capital city to make the short drive to Lexington in support of Groupie Doll. 

“It would be great to win in front of a home crowd,” Buff Bradley said in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon. “A lot of people around here still know my father from serving in the Senate for 20 years and being a county judge. I think a lot of people can relate to her by knowing him.”

The Bradleys bred and raised the daughter of Bowman’s Band at Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort. Groupie Doll is looking to win her fourth stakes race after her 3 3/4 length victory in the Grade 2 Masters Stakes at Presque Isle Downs on Sept. 8. Prior to the race, she took a four month layoff.

“Coming back off a layoff and winning, it shows she is ready to go now,” Bradley said. “Even if we don’t win this race, the goal is to win in a month and a half at the Breeders’ Cup out in California.”

Although there is a bigger goal in mind, Bradley said it doesn’t make him want to win any less.

“This certainly has some things that makes us want to win it,” he said. “’The Win and You’re In’, that pays your entry fees and your way out there. That would help us greatly, if we could win it and plus the $200,000 purse isn’t too bad either.”

The Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” challenge series race waives $30,000 of entry fees and grants the connections a $10,000 travel stipend. The Bradleys and their partners already put up $50,000 to make Groupie Doll eligible to race in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. 

“For $200,000, there is always going to be some good competition and some very capable horses,” Bradley said. “I think she should be the favorite. Although this is not her preferred distance (at six furlongs), she likes it a little bit longer, I still think she will be able to get there.”

Last April, Groupie Doll won at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison, ridden by her current jockey Rajiv Maragh. Bradley said he’ll give no special instructions to Maragh before the race, except concerning her break from the gate. The mare experienced trouble there in her last start.

“He knows the filly well,” Bradley said of his jockey. “I’m just going to tell him to make sure to get her out of the gate in good order. I think that’s the main thing. I like her post —post six —which puts her to the outside a little bit which helps.” 

With a win on Saturday, Groupie Doll will surpass $1 million in winnings. Currently, she has more than $927,000 in career earnings. 

“She’s training very well,” Bradley said. “She came out of her last race good so we hope to move forward for this Saturday.”

Thoroughbred Club

of America Field

1. Giant Sensation

(James Graham)

2. Honey Chile

(Robby Albarado)

3. Newstouse

(Julien Leparoux)

4. Emma’s Encore

(Junior Alvarado)

5. Mega Dream

(Jon Court)

6. Groupie Doll

(Rajiv Maragh)

7. Strike the Moon

(Jose Lezcano)

8. Zermatt

(Javier Castellano)

9. Sally Sally

(Willie Martinez)

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