Groupie Doll Tops Nominations for $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL– When Buff Bradley saddles Groupie Doll for the final start in her brilliant racing career in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 9, it will be a moment charged with emotion.
“Hopefully, she’ll go out on a winning note. Either way, it’s always sad to see them go. But she’s going into the next phase of her life and she’ll be well cared for and bred to the best,” Bradley said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to see some of her babies down the road.”
Groupie Doll, who is scheduled to be bred to Tapit following her career finale, will be the star attraction in the 6 ½-furlong sprint that will support a nationally televised program on Fox Sports 1 featuring the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) and the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1). The 6-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band is among 22 fillies and mares nominated for the 17th running of the Hurricane Bertie.
Bred by Bradley and his father, Fred, Groupie Doll has won 11 of 22 starts, including back-to-back victories in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. The earner of more than $2.5 million in purses was sold to Mandy Pope at auction for $3.1 million in November by the Bradleys and partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns.
“We always get attached to our horses, but knowing what she’s done for us, our stable and our family, there’s probably a little more attachment there,” said Bradley, who campaigned homebred $2.1 million earner Brass Hat with his father. “It’s very gratifying to be able to be around these great horses and to see the impact they have on racing fans and our peers.”
Groupie Doll followed up her Breeders’ Cup victory with a troubled fourth against males in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.
Marty Wolfson-trained Heart Stealer, the recent winner of the Sugar Swirl (G3) at Gulfstream, is among the more prominent nominees for the Hurricane Bertie, along with multiple stakes-winners Risky Rachel, My Pal Chrisy, My Wandy’s Girl and Munnings Sister, as well as Grade 1 stakes-placed Jamaican Smoke and Wildcat Lily.
In the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Summer Front is expected to seek Grade 1 credentials in the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes, won last year by Point of Entry over Animal Kingdom. The Christophe Clement-trained 5-year-old captured the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale over the Gulfstream turf course with a late surge under jockey Joe Bravo in his 2014 debut. After winning at Gulfstream last season, Summer Front went on to finish third in a pair of Grade 1 stakes, the Secretariat at Arlington and the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park.
Trainer Bill Mott has two turf stars, Amira’s Prince and Tetradrachm, among the 19 nominees for the Gulfstream Turf. Amira’s Prince won all four starts last year, including the Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream. Tetradrachm set the pace in the recent Fort Lauderdale before falling three-quarters of a length short of holding off Summer Front.
Millionaire Boisterous, who earned Grade 1 status in the Man o’ War last year, is expected to make his first start for new connections, Gary Barber and trainer Todd Pletcher, in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap. Pletcher also nominated Charming Kitten, the Grade 1 stakes-placed winner who won a recent Gulfstream allowance, and Salto, who lost the recent El Prado Stakes by a head.
Two Grade 3 stakes will kick off Donn Weekend on Saturday, Feb. 8 – the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint and the $150,000 Suwannee River.
Ribo Bobo, a two-time stakes winner this season at Gulfstream, is among 29 horses nominated for the seven-furlong Sprint. The 6-year-old gelding has won 11 of his last 12 races, including handy scores in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Express and the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint this season at Gulfstream.
Trainer Mark Casse has nominated Laugh Track, who closed with a rush to finish second in a photo finish with Secret Circle in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor suffered through a disastrous trip in the Cigar Mile (G1) in his most recent start.
Brujo de Olleros, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) in his last start, has been nominated to the Gulfstream Sprint by Team Valor International and Richard Santulli and trainer Richard Mettee.
Happy My Way, a close runner-up to Ribo Bobo in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, has been made eligible for the Gulfstream Sprint by trainer Joe Orseno.
A group of 29 accomplished turf fillies and mares has been nominated for the 70thrunning of the Suwannee River, including Mark Hennig-trained Baffle Me, who won the $100,000 South Beach at Gulfstream on Dec. 15. Other prominent nominees include Tapicat, who captured the Voodoo Dancer at Gulfstream on Jan. 1; Somali Lemonade, runner-up in the recent Grade 3 Marshua’s River; Mystic Love, a winner against the boys in last season’s Dania Beach Stakes; Abaco, trainer Shug McGaughey’s Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap winner last season at Churchill Downs; and Hard Not to Like, the 2013 Marshua’s River winner who ran in the Grade 1 Spinster in her most recent start.