One Breeders’ Cup victory is not enough for defending Filly & Mare Sprint champion Groupie Doll.
The 5-year old mare, owned and bred by Buff Bradley and his father Fred at their Indian Ridge Farm in western Franklin County, remains hungry for another as she enters Saturday’s race at Santa Anita as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Groupie Doll, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, will break from post No. 11 in a field of 12 horses for the $1 million grade I Filly & Mare Sprint.
“She won on the outside last year here,” Trainer Buff Bradley said of Groupie Doll breaking from post No. 9 in 2012. “It might be a little bit tougher field, but I wouldn’t trade her for anybody. She’s really on top of her game right now. That’s where you want a horse at this point. She’s at the right level right now. Her energy level is really good. She’s feeling good and she’s wanting more every time she comes off the track and that’s what we want.”
The mare by Bowman’s Band out of Deputy Doll shipped to California last Wednesday, and Bradley followed Friday. On Saturday, Groupie Doll put in her last major work before the race, covering 4 furlongs in :47.40.
“She loves sunny California,” Bradley said. “She’s doing super good. She handles everything so well anyhow. We’re having fun. Everything is so relaxed out here. There’s no pressure. It has been a very good trip so far.”
The 2012 Female Sprinter of the Year Eclipse Award winner is coming off a third-place finish in the 6-furlong Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes Oct. 5 on Keeneland’s polytrack.
Bradley said he still believes Groupie Doll, who has lost two of her three starts this year, prefers the 7-furlong distance on the dirt.
“Rajiv knows we’re going to let her run her race, something that we probably didn’t do in the TCA,” Bradley said. “I think where we are in that post, we’re going to be watching them all. That’s better for her, so we can avoid the speed. That seems to be what everyone else is doing, trying to not get caught up and pinched back.”
Bradley said this year his father, who made the trip last year to witness the farm’s first Breeders’ Cup victory, wouldn’t join him in California this time.
“It was the right decision for him and he made the decision,” Bradley said. “It is a long trip out here.
He would have to change planes and we couldn’t get anything that was straight through. With the time change and it is just difficult.
“He said he’s seen enough races live and he didn’t mind seeing it from home or wherever they decide to watch it from. He’ll be with a lot of family and friends anyhow. He’ll still enjoy it. I’m so grateful he was here last year. It was difficult for him and me, too. I sure wanted him here. He’s the one that made it happen.”
As the race nears, Bradley said he’s focusing on “just keeping her happy” and embracing his time with Groupie Doll.
Bradley, his father and minority owners Brent Burns and Carl Hurst, both longtime clients, agreed to sell the mare Nov. 6 at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
“All my help and family really know how lucky we’ve been and fortunate,” Bradley said. “There won’t be a dry eye when we go to sell her.”
Groupie Doll has only been unplaced twice in her 20-race career, with both of those coming in turf races, and is 10-4-4 with $1,928,850 in lifetime earnings.
Post time for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint is 4:21 p.m. (EST) on NBC Sports Network.