Groupie Doll gearing up for Cigar Mile
By Jenny Kellner | 11/10/2013 01:19 PM ET
With the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on November 30 back on her schedule, champion Groupie Doll had her first trip to the track since her Breeders' Cup victory this morning, jogging a mile and galloping a mile over Belmont Park's training track.
The two-time winner of the Filly & Mare Sprint, second in last year's Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack, will be making her first start for new owner Mandy Pope, who paid $3.1 million for the defending female sprint champion on Wednesday.
"We're very excited about who bought her," said trainer William "Buff" Bradley, who had owned Groupie Doll with his 82-year-old father, Fred, and minoritypartners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. "We had thought she would be retired immediately. If we had kept her, we knew we'd probably be looking at the Cigar Mile. I was very excited when Mrs. Mandy Pope called me and asked me if I were interested in continuing on with her, at least for another race in the Cigar Mile. I told her yes, as long as we can keep the same team together."
Joining Bradley in accompanying Groupie Doll back to New York were groom Matt Hebert and exercise rider Jada Schlenk.
"Groupie Doll did very well," said Bradley of the 5-year-old chestnut mare, who is 11-4-4 from 21 starts and has career earnings of nearly $2.5 million. "She was very much into herself and showed a pretty good energy level, which is what we wanted to see. Everything there was good."
Groupie Doll and her regular rider, Rajiv Maragh, will be competing for a $1 million gross purse in the Cigar Mile by virtue of a special purse incentive provided by the New York Racing Association, Inc. for Breeders' Cup winners. Also going for the enhanced $1 million purse will be Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents, while Alpha, Verrazano and Capo Bastone would be competing for a secondary incentive that offers a gross purse of $750,000 to Grade 1 winners. Others looking at the Cigar Mile include Gentlemen's Bet, third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, and stakes winner Forty Tales.