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Churchill Downs Race Night Notes for Saturday, June 29

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/29/2013 #
  • Groupie Doll won the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in 2012. Credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer

GROUPIE DOLL GETS BACK TO WORK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Groupie Doll, last year’s champion female sprinter, appeared on the worktab for the first time this year and breezed a bullet three furlongs in :35.80 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning.

Working under John McKee, Groupie Doll went the first eighth of a mile in :11.60, ran a quarter-mile in :23.60 and galloped out in :49.40.

“It was a good morning to see her back and to tell the partners that everything went well,” said trainer Buff Bradley, who co-bred and co-owns Groupie Doll. “She came back good and cooled out good. She’ll tell you when she wants to do something and she was ready.”

Groupie Doll, a 5-year-old chestnut mare by Bowman’s Band, won three Grade I races in 2012, including the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI). In her last start of the year, she finished second by a nose to Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile Handicap (GI).

She was given a month off after the Cigar Mile and then was sent to Bradley’s barn at Gulfstream Park. Unhappy with the way Groupie Doll was training, Bradley sent her back to his Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort, Ky. for more R & R. She returned to Churchill Downs in May.

“The big thing today was that she was willing to do it,” Bradley said. “She was very willing to do it and she wasn’t at Gulfstream. Sometimes you don’t know with these fillies. They’re a little temperamental and they might not come back as good as you had hoped, but she seemed like her old self today.”

Groupie Doll’s three-eighths time of :35.80 was the fastest of 24 at the distance Saturday.

“She has a high-cruising speed and is fast with her stride without really trying,” Bradley said.

Bradley added that Groupie Doll could make her next start in the $500,000 Ballerina (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 23 or the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters (GII) on Sept. 9. Groupie Doll won the Masters by 3 ¾ lengths last year.

“We’ll keep breezing her and we’ll probably breeze her every Saturday,” Bradley said. “I know it’ll take about four more works to get her where we need to be and then we’ll start making a plan.”

Bradley owns Groupie Doll with his father, Fred, and Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. She has a record of 9-4-2 from 17 starts with earnings of $1,657,850.

CLOSING DAY IS SUNDAY

Closing day of Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet is Sunday. The first of 10 races is 12:45 p.m. ET. Live racing will return to Churchill Downs for the inaugural Homecoming Meet after Labor Day. Racing will be showcased over 12 days on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 6-29.

FAMILY FUN DAY SUNDAY

Churchill Downs will host its final Family Fun Day Presented by Kroger of the Spring Meet on the Plaza Balcony on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kiddos age 12 and younger are invited to enjoy games, crafts and visits from Churchill Downs’ popular mascot Churchill Charlie. Sunday’s special activities include Cookies & Canvas, a patriotic craft and a snow cone truck. The first of 10 races on Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.

THIS WEEKEND AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Saturday, June 29 – Downs After Dark

  • 11 races from 6-11:10 p.m. (Gates: 4 p.m.)
  • Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka
  • Theme: Star-Spangled Night. Guests are encouraged to “dress to impress” for a flashy, fun and patriotic pre-Fourth of July celebration of red, white and blue. There’ll be a contest for best dressed female, male, couple and group.
  • Cover Charge (General Admission): $10. Holders of shareholders passes or horsemen licenses and children age 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted to the track unless they are accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
  • Feature (Race 9 at 10:11 p.m.): $150,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII), 3 & up, 1 M (T)
  • Co-Feature (Race 7 at 9:05 p.m.): $100,000-added Bashford Manor (GIII), 2yo, 6 F
  • Co-Feature (Race 3 at 6:56 p.m.): $65,000-added Kelly’s Landing, 3 & up, 7 F
  • Celebration of 500,000 Downs After Dark guests since its debut in 2009. Prize drawings to win a Millionaires Row table, $250 betting voucher and trophy presentation for the Sept. 7 Dark After Dark event during the inaugural Homecoming Meet (Sept. 6-29). Five sets of reserved box seats for six in the 3rd floor Clubhouse will be given away as well. There also will be toast to the crowd between races with the drink of the night: the Frozen SoCo Hurricane.
  • Winner of Churchill Downs’ online “O Say Can YOU Sing?” promotion will sing the National Anthem.
  • Entertainment on The Plaza Stage includes 64 West from (4-7:30 p.m.) and the Jordan English Band from (8-11:30 p.m.). There also will be music by The Rumors on the Clubhouse’s fifth floor balcony and Jamie Vessels at the Gate 17 entrance.
  • Festive food & beverage items include fried chicken, apple pie, hot dogs, hamburgers and BBQ, plus food trucks (Booty’s Diner, Genius in a Box, Reds Comfort Food and Moe-licious BBQ) in The Plaza.
  • Between Races 6-9, the popular text-to-win sweepstakes promotion “Bet or No Bet,” sponsored by Thorntons, will return in which four lucky on-track patrons will face a tough decision: to place a $1,000 win bet on a horse in the upcoming race or take a $100 Thorntons’ gift card.
  • Flags4Vets, which privately funds U.S. flags to be placed on the graves of U.S. veterans, will place 3,000 U.S. flags in the Jockey’s Garden inside Gate 10 to commemorate our pre-Fourth of July celebration. 
  • Giant 1,500-square-foot U.S. flag displayed above the paddock area from two Louisville Fire Department fire trucks in the Turf Club Parking Lot.
  • Winner’s circle ceremony to honor six Congressional Medal of Honor Montford Point Marines.
  • Reserved seating can be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets (through Friday at noon) or the on-track box office located at the Gate 1 entrance off Central Ave. (open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ‘Downs After Dark’ Saturdays).
  • Indoor dining packages (tables of 8 at $59.90 per person) include special dinner offerings, admission, reserved seat and racing program.
  • Reserved box seating (boxes of 6 or 8 in the 3rd Floor Clubhouse at $20 per person) includes admission, a reserved seat and a racing program.
  • Simulcast wagering in ITW area on second floor of the Clubhouse from 11:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. (enter through Gate 17 only from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.): Calder (12:50 p.m.), Monmouth Park (12:55 p.m.), Woodbine (1 p.m.), Belmont Park (1:05 p.m.), Delaware (1:15 p.m.), Arlington (2 p.m.), Louisiana Downs (2:25 p.m.), Lone Star Park (2:35 p.m.), Betfair Hollywood Park (4 p.m.), Penn National (6 p.m.), Evangeline Downs (6:40 p.m.), Mountaineer (7 p.m.), Charles Town (7:15 p.m.) & Prairie Meadows (7:30 p.m.)
  • Birthday: jockey Joe Johnson

Sunday, June 30 – Closing Day

  • 10 races from 12:45-5:29 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
  • Closing Day of the 38-day Spring Meet
  • Feature (Race 4 at 2:19 p.m.): $54,000 alw opt clm, f & m, 1 M (T)
  • Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on The Plaza Balcony from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Games, crafts, entertainment & Churchill Charlie appearance. Special activities include Cookies & Canvas, a patriotic craft and a snow cone truck.
  • Flags4Vets, which privately funds U.S. flags to be placed on the graves of U.S. veterans, will place 3,000 U.S. flags in the Jockey’s Garden inside Gate 10 to commemorate our pre-Fourth of July celebration. 
  • Giant 1,500-square-foot U.S. flag displayed above the paddock area from two Louisville Fire Department fire trucks in the Turf Club Parking Lot.
  • Salute Spring Meet Champion Jockey, Trainer & Owner between races
  • Check Presentation for Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Charitable Initiatives ($41,260.74 to Dare to Care and $30,000 to Horses and Hope) following Race 4 at 2:10 p.m.
  • Free general admission for active or retired military

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