Groupie Doll is back on track.
In her second race after a nine-month layoff, the 5-year-old champion mare set a track record to capture the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes Monday in Eric, Pa.
“It was an exciting race,” said trainer and co-owner Buff Bradley of Frankfort. “She broke slow and was last at one point. I was afraid the speed was getting out and she wouldn’t be able to close.
“She had to have the track record to win it. She ran hard down the lane. I told my dad (co-owner Fred Bradley) when she was running down the middle of the lane it looks like she’ll finish second, but she hit another gear and got it done.”
Groupie Doll, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, covered the 6½ furlongs in a time of 1:14.88 and paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10.
The race was a Grade II stakes race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up, and the purse was $400,000.
Groupie Doll won this race last year and went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and an Eclipse Award.
She finished second in the Grade I Cigar Mile Handicap in late November and didn’t race again until the Grade III Gardenia Stakes Aug. 10 at Ellis Park.
“She was off for nine months and then ran third at the Gardenia, a race a lot of people thought she would win,” Buff Bradley said.
“You have a lot of doubters when you’ve been off that long, but the Gardenia helped us get to this race. We got a lot of good things out of that race. We have no regrets about going there.
“She got a little tired. It was a mile, a longer distance for her, but that race got us where we wanted to be for the rest of the year.”
Next up for Groupie Doll is the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes Oct. 5 at Keeneland, a race she won last year before going to the Breeders’ Cup.
“She had the outside post, and I thought that would really help her,” Bradley said about Monday’s race.
“To come back and win this race again shows she’s back.”