Groupie Doll has resumed training at Churchill Downs following a brief vacation at trainer Buff Bradley’s Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort after her record-breaking performance in the Humana Distaff (Grade I) beneath the Twin Spires on Kentucky Derby Day.
“She put on a few pounds and she looks great,” Bradley said. “We’re pointing to the Ballerina (GI at Saratoga on Aug. 24).”
In her time at Indian Ridge Farm, Groupie Doll was turned out in a paddock with Brass Hat, a multiple graded stakes winner, including the Donn Handicap (GI) at Gulfstream Park, who retired last spring with 10 victories and $2,173,561 to his name.
Groupie Doll, owned by Buff Bradley, Fred Bradley, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns, won the Humana Distaff by 7 ¼ lengths in track-record time of 1:20.44 for seven furlongs. The Ballerina also is run at seven-eighths.
“It ought to be right up her alley,” Bradley said.
The Humana Distaff gave Groupie Doll, a 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Bowman’s Band, her second Grade I victory of 2012. In her fourth start of the year, she notched a three-length win in the seven furlong Vinery Madison (GI) on the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Also a winner of the Gardenia (GIII) at Ellis Park last summer, Groupie Doll has a record of 6-3-2 from 13 starts and has a bankroll of $687,850.
FIELD COMING TOGETHER FOR SATURDAY’S DEBUTANTE – A group of 22 precocious fillies were nominated to the $100,000-added Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs and the field for the 112th running of the event is beginning to take shape.
Currently nine fillies are expected to be entered in the six-furlong race on the main track, with three more being possible. Leading the group of probable entrants is Berry King and Dorothy Self’s Blueeyesintherein, who broke her maiden by 3 ¾ lengths at Churchill Downs on May 31 in what was her career debut. A dark bay or brown daughter of Magna Graduate, Blueeyesintherein was purchased for $10,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
King and Simms teamed up last year to win the Debutante with 17-1 longshot Flashy Lassie, a $4,000 Fasig-Tipton Fall Yearling purchase.
Fillies believed by Churchill Downs officials to be pointing to the Debutante include Blueeyesintherein (trained by Simms), Fantacious (Bret Calhoun), Floral Sky (Mark Casse), Love Me Good (Timothy Hamm), My Daughter’s Song (Allen Milligan), Quiet Success (Tom Amoss), Richie’slilcowgirl (Steve Asmussen), Sheila Tequila (Milligan) and Shesakitty (Lon Wiggins). Brook’s Secret (Tommy Short), Neith (Wayne Lukas) and Wine Glow (Lukas) are believed to be possible.
‘DOWNS AFTER DARK’ STARS DOING WELL MORNING AFTER BIG WINS – The connections of the winners of the four graded stakes events that took place on Saturday night as part of the “Downs After Dark” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program all confirmed their horses exited their races in good order and were in fine form Sunday morning.
The Bill Mott-trained double of Ron the Greek, winner of the $437,200 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) and Royal Delta, champ of the $161,700 Fleur de Lis (GII), came out of their races in great shape, reported assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy. The two horses arrived at Churchill Downs last Monday and their week beneath the Twin Spires will end tomorrow (Monday) as they will both ship back to their New York base.
Mott mentioned the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) as a possible next destination for Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack Hammer’s Ron the Greek. Besilu Stables’ Royal Delta may make her next start in the Delaware Handicap (GII).
Centre Court, winner of the 43rd running of the $114,200 Regret (GIII), was reported to be in great shape Sunday morning by trainer Rusty Arnold and he said the 3-year-old daughter of Smart Strike was en route to his base at Keeneland.
Arnold said Saturday night the likely destination for Centre Court, a homebred owned by G. Watts Humphrey and Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust 2008, is the American Oaks (GI) at Hollywood Park.
Trainer Ian Wilkes said Sunday morning A. Stevens Miles Jr.’s Neck ’n Neck, a 7 ¼-length winner of the $107,100 Matt Winn (GIII), exited his impressive performance Saturday night in fine form. Wilkes said Neck ’n Neck would ship to his barn at the nearby Skylight Training Center this week. No plans have been made for his next start.
BARN TALK – John Velazquez’s agent Angel Cordero Jr. told Daily Racing Form Sunday that Velazquez suffered a broken right collarbone and sustained a possible kidney injury in a spill in Saturday night’s ninth race aboard Mr. Producer. Cordero said it was possible Velazquez would be released from Audobon Hospital later Sunday. Velazquez’s wife Leona is on her way to Louisville to help her 40-year-old husband return home. …
Patrick Johnson, the 11th all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs, recorded his first win beneath the Twin Spires since May 7, 2008 when he guided Humor’s Punch to victory in Saturday night’s first race for 78-year-old owner/trainer Tom McCarthy, who is famous for training former $20,000 claimer General Quarters to win the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI).
“I was so happy for Patrick and he rode a heck of a race,” McCarthy said. “Last night was a grand time.”
Humor’s Punch is the only horse in McCarthy’s stable. …
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan became just the 18th rider in Churchill Downs history to reach the 400-win milestone when he guided Lockout to victory in the ninth race on Saturday night. A native of Jamaica, Bridgmohan will turn 33 on June 24. He has 35 wins at the 2012 Spring Meet, which is good enough for a clear second in the standings behind leading rider Corey Lanerie, who has 51 wins.
WORKTAB – Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, breezed five furlongs on the fast main track Sunday morning in 1:03 for trainer Dale Romans. The work ranked 10th fastest of 16 at the distance.
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