Fred Bradley, trainer Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll made shambles of the field in winning the 26th running of the $334,500 Humana Distaff (Grade I) for fillies and mares by 7 ¼ lengths in track record time.
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, Groupie Doll ran the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:20.44 to break the track record of 1:20.50 set by Alannan on May 5, 2001 and the stakes record of 1:20.70 established by Dream Supreme in 2001.
It was the second consecutive Grade I victory for Groupie Doll, who had won the Vinery Madison at Keeneland on April 12. Left in her wake were the 1-2 finishers from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) here, Musical Romance and Switch.
Mildly Offensive led the field of nine sprinters through the first quarter-mile in :22.42 with Groupie Doll in closest pursuit. Maragh moved Groupie Doll to the lead on the far turn and poured it on in the lane without being threatened.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Bowman’s Band out of the Silver Deputy mare Deputy Doll, Groupie Doll earned $199,094 with the victory and increased her earnings to $688,850 with a record of 13-6-3-2.
Groupie Doll returned $8.20, $4.40 and $3.20. Musical Romance, ridden by Juan Leyva, returned $5.40 and $4 in finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of Magical Feeling, who finished third under Roberto Alvarado Jr., and paid $5.80 to show.
Mildly Offensive finished another three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Switch, Sassy Image, Salty Strike, Hot Summer and Fantasy of Flight.
HUMANA DISTAFF QUOTES
RAJIV MARAGH (jockey, Groupie Doll, first) – “She broke for me real well, which is what I wanted. She went right out and put me in good position. She wanted to go at the three-eighths pole, but the plan wasn’t to do that right then. But she was doing it so willingly, I didn’t want to take that away from her. When she moved she really took off.
“Coming down the stretch when I was so far ahead, I felt wonderful. I’m so glad to have a horse like this that makes you look so good as a rider.”
BUFF BRADLEY (trainer, Groupie Doll, first) -- I told Rajiv (Maragh) to put her in the race early, but he got to the front earlier than I thought he would. When I saw that, I said, 'She's going to gallop from here.' Finishing has never been an issue with her. I think she was even more impressive today than she was at Keeneland (in winning the Vinery Madison). She was just dragging Rajiv out there. The blinkers have really helped. I think she's starting to figure things out. She'll get a short break now. I'm guessing at least six weeks, but I need to talk to my partners. We haven't even thought about a next race because we knew that win, lose or draw, she was going to get a break.”
JUAN LEYVA (jockey, Musical Romance, second) -- “I had a really good trip. I had no trouble at all. I was able to stalk them. That filly just beat us today. She ran a freakish race.”
BILL KAPLAN (trainer, Musical Romance, second) – “I’m very happy. She had an outside post which forced her to be out a little bit. Juan (Leyva) rode a great race. The filly ran a great race. They broke the track record.”
ROBERTO ALVARADO, JR. (jockey, Magical Feeling, third) – “She’s a nice mare. She was pretty competitive today. We got an inside post and it was a little tough for us, but it worked out pretty well. I went around horses. It wasn’t the best trip. The winner and the second were too much for her.”
ALLEN IWINSKI (trainer, Magical Feeling, third) -- “As always, this mare gave it her best. She was very well compromised by two things today. One, she was breaking from the one hole out of the chute going seven-eighths; that’s hasn’t been the greatest place to be at this meet. Second, it’s definitely been a speed-biased race track the last couple of days. She was about four lengths off the lead going into the turn with no where to go. Roberto backed her up and got to her to the outside. She lost ground and was five or six wide and she still persevered and kept coming. We’re pretty proud of her performance. Even though she did get beat, it almost felt like she won. She has been bred to Tapit, this is probably going to be her last race and succeeded in being Grade 1 stakes-placed.”
MIKE SMITH (jockey, Switch, fifth) -- “She did fine for her first race back from the Breeders’ Cup [November at Churchill Downs]. She’ll get a lot out of this race and will be much better next time.”
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.