Groupie Doll has one more race before the Breeders’ Cup, and that comes Saturday at Keeneland.
The 5-year-old mare, trained by Buff Bradley and owned by Bradley, his father Fred Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns, has drawn the No. 6 post for the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (Grade 2).
Post time is 3:45 p.m. The six-furlong race, for fillies and mares 3 years old and up, has a field of six horses.
“I think she’s doing as well or better than she was at this point last year,” Buff Bradley said.
Groupie Doll won the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes last year and went on to capture the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and the 2012 Eclipse Award for female sprinter.
She’ll defend her Breeders’ Cup title in November.
“She’s physically great,” Bradley said, “and mentally she seems very mature, very eager to run. She’s antsy in the best way. She’s not over-anxious, just very eager to still compete.
“Those are good signs that’s she’s at the top of her game right now.”
After running in the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park in California, Groupie Doll will be sold Nov. 6 during the second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
It was a business decision made by the four partners that has drawn surprise and criticism from some Groupie Doll fans, enough that an explanation was posted Wednesday on the joint Facebook page of Groupie Doll and Brass Hat.
“We would like everyone to know that the decision to sell Groupie Doll has been very difficult,” the post read. “The four partners fully agree our best and only reasonable choice is to sell. We studied, discussed and debated all other options before making the final decision. For emotional and sentimental reasons, we would love to keep her and raise her babies ourselves.
“However, we are unable to do so. We have ... been blessed to have bred, raised, owned and trained Groupie Doll, but we also realize that selling her will allow us to remain active in the Thoroughbred business. We look forward to her next two races for our team and hope she will win another championship this year. The ride she has already given us has been our thrill of a lifetime in the sport of thoroughbred racing.”
The message was signed by the Bradleys, Hurst and Burns.
“She’s done a lot for us — my dad, the farm,” Buff Bradley said. “I’ve sold a lot of horses I was really attached to, but I have more of an attachment to her because of what she’s done.
“I can tell you we were approached by a lot of people last year to sell her, but we wanted to keep her and race her one year at least. It gave us a little more time to make the decision, and it was tough to make.”
And with two races to go, Bradley isn’t dwelling on the decision.
“We’re really focused on the present right now,” he said, “getting ready for the next two races and having a championship campaign.”
Linda Younkin: (502) 227-4556 EXT 257. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.