After 22 starts and more than $2.5 million in earnings, Groupie Doll had one race left.
The 6-year-old mare closed out her racing career in spectacular fashion Sunday, rallying from last place to win the Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
“She won by seven lengths,” said trainer Buff Bradley. “The jockey (Rajiv Maragh) eased off the last sixteenth of a mile, and she was only one-fifth of a second off the track record.”
Bradley and his father, Fred Bradley, both of Frankfort, bred Groupie Doll and owned her along with partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns until selling her at the Keenelend November Sale for $3.1 million to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm.
Groupie Doll went off as the 2-5 favorite, but she broke from the No. 1 post position and had a rough start.
“She didn’t break as sharply as we expected,” Buff Bradley said. “She fell behind early, but when she came down the lane I think she took the heart out of the rest of them when she went by them.”
Groupie Doll won the 6½-furlong race for 4-year-old and up fillies and mares in 1:14.68 and paid $2.80 to win. Five Star Momma was second and Wildcat Lily took third.
“She was far back early,” Bradley said of Groupie Doll. “She was back 10 lengths, and when she came to the corner she was still last, but she just overpowered them.”
Groupie Doll’s performance didn’t surprise her trainer.
“She’s been doing super good for quite awhile,” Bradley said. “I knew she’d have a good race. She was ready to go.”
Groupie Doll closes out her career with a 12-4-4 record and $2,648,850 in winnings with 23 starts.
She won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in 2012 and 2013 and the Eclipse Award for female sprinter the same years.
“That was icing on the cake,” Bradley said of Sunday’s race. “It was good for the new owner, Mandy Pope. It’s her first stakes win, and she was pretty excited. It’s something big for her to enjoy.”
With her racing career over, Groupie Doll will be bred to Tapit, and it ends Bradley’s professional relationship with the mare.
“Everyone said this was going to be bittersweet,” Bradley said, “but it really hasn’t been. We thought her last race was the Breeders’ Cup.
“It’s been a good ride, a long ride, and I really appreciate that she had the ability and opportunity to run as a 6-year-old and win.
“I’ll be able to see her whenever I want. She’s just down the road. It’s all good.”