Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Double Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll successfully concluded her racing career Sunday with a come from behind victory in the $200,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden one last time by Rajiv Maragh, Groupie Doll got off to a horrible start in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint as the 2-5 favorite. The 6-year-old chestnut mare was last in the seven-horse field and trailed early by as many as 10 lengths.
Trained by her co-breeder Buff Bradley, Groupie Doll and Maragh went to the outside on the final turn after breaking from the inside post. The champion drew even with the leaders entering the stretch and quickly took control with a furlong to run.
Owned by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, Groupie Doll cruised to a seven- length victory in the 23rd and final start of her championship career. Five Star Momma was second followed by Wildcat Lily, Jamaican Smoke, Heart Stealer, Distortion and My Due Process.
Groupie Doll covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.68 on a fast track.
"I love her going out a winner. Seeing her on the backside, I was about sick to my stomach. I just thought, 'Man, she got left at the gate. There's too much to do.' I was afraid there was too much to do, but when she made that move on the turn, she was just gone," Bradley said. "Obviously, winning Breeders' Cups is great, but to see her win for the new owner, I was just as excited as if I was the owner. It's good to see someone who put so much into the game get rewarded."
Purchased by Pope last November from an ownership group that included Bradley and his father Fred, Groupie Doll finishes her career with $2,648,850 and 12 wins in 23 starts.
"I'm so happy for everyone, the fans, Buff. It's just so wonderful. I was so worried when she was so far behind, but they were telling me, 'Don't worry about it.' It was just wonderful and amazing," Pope exclaimed.
Groupie Doll won her second straight Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. That victory secured her a second Eclipse Award as champion Female Sprinter.
In her last race of 2013, Groupie Doll finished fifth in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 30 one year after finishing second by a nose in the race to Stay Thirsty.
Groupie Doll returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Five Star Momma paid $9.40 and $6.20, and Wildcat Lily paid $4.40 to show.