Frankfort farm eager to show off Groupie Doll at Keeneland

awincze@herald-leader.comOctober 3, 2012 

  • IF YOU GO

    Keeneland Fall Meet

    When: Oct. 5-27. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 1:05 p.m.; races are run approximately every half hour. Closed Mon., Tue.

    Where: Keeneland Race Course, 4201 Versailles Rd.

    Tickets: $5 general admission, free for children 12 and younger

    Learn more: (859) 254-3412. Keeneland.com.

    STAKES RACES

    Oct. 5-7: Fall Stars Weekend. Keeneland's richest weekend of racing, featuring nine stakes races worth more than $3 million in total purses.

    ■ $175,000 Stoll Keenon and Ogden Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 5.

    ■ $150,000 Woodford Stakes. 3:13 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). 3:45 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $350,000 First Lady (G1) stakes. 4:17 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $400,000 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). 5:21 p.m. Oct. 6.

    ■ $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3). 4:17 p.m. Oct. 7.

    ■ $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1). 4:49 p.m. Oct. 7.

    Oct. 11: $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 12: $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes. 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 13: $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 18: $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (G3). 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 19: $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3). 5:21 p.m.

    Oct. 20: $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2). 5:27 p.m.

    Oct. 21: $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes. 4:49 p.m.

    Oct. 27: $150,000 Fayette Stakes (G2). 5:21 p.m.

    SPECIAL EVENTS

    Highlights of the fall meet

    Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26: Friday Happy Hour. 5 p.m.-midnight. Paddock. Live music by Roger BonDurant (Oct. 5), Willie Eames (Oct. 12), American Trio (Oct. 19) and Chris Campbell Duo (Oct. 26); simulcast racing from Santa Anita, Golden Gate and Hawthorne.

    Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27: Sunrise Trackside. Activities before racing starts.

    ■ Breakfast With the Works. 7-8:30 a.m. Equestrian Dining Room. $7, free for kids 3 and younger. Trackside show-and-tell with farrier Hans Albrecht.

    ■ Children's activities. 7-9 a.m. Visit the Kids Club Corner and meet Buckles, the Keeneland mascot. Free activities and crafts with the Explorium of Lexington adjacent to the Equestrian Dining Room.

    ■ Tours. 8:30-10:30 a.m. A new event gives fans a walking tour of Keeneland with guides throughout the grounds.

    ■ Paddock demonstration. 8:45 a.m. Saddling paddock. Live educational equine demonstration by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (Oct. 6, 13), Old Friends equine retirement facility (Oct. 20) and Mustang Troop (Oct. 27).

    ■ Photos with Bucky the Bugler. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area.

    ■ Handicapping seminar. 11:30 a.m. Trackside.

    ■ Jockey Q&A. 12:05 p.m. Walking Ring.

    Oct. 10: Make-a-Wish Day. All day. Nine Make-a-Wish Foundation children present trophies.

    Oct. 10: Wine, Women and Shoes. 5-9 p.m. Keene Barn and Entertainment Center. Shopping marketplace, wine, fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue Cincinnati. $100-$150; benefits Lexington Cancer Foundation. 1-888-388-2620. Winewomenandshoes.com/lexington2012.

    Oct. 11: Race for Education. All day. Learn about scholarships from the organization.

    Oct. 12: College Scholarship Day. All day. Free admission to college students with ID, live music, giveaway of 10 $1,000 scholarships.

    Oct. 12: Buffalo Trace Giveaway. All day. Enter to win a "VIP Experience" at the Frankfort distillery. Oct. 13: Bucky Sallee Salute. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Paddock area. Free photos and autographs with Keeneland's longtime bugler. Souvenir programs available.

    Oct. 13: Lexus Test Drive. 6:30- 9 a.m. Clubhouse parking area. Test-drive a Lexus.

    Oct. 14: Meet Plum Pretty. All day. Paddock area. Meet the 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner.

    Oct. 18: Jockey Autograph Signing. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Adjacent to Paddock. Jockeys will autograph $10 Jockey Colony prints. Proceeds benefit Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

    Oct. 19: See Blue Day. All day. Free general admission for UK students, alumni and faculty; activities for all Wildcat fans. Autograph signing with Denver Bronco and former UK star Jacob Tamme, UK cheerleaders and more, noon-3 p.m., North Terrace. UK/Keeneland tumblers available for $15; benefits UK's DanceBlue fund-raiser.

    Oct. 21: Military Family Day. All day. Free general admission for active and inactive military and their families with ID. Free food, live music and activities on North Terrace.

    Oct. 26: Fan Appreciation Day. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., North Terrace. First 3,000 patrons get a free sample of bread pudding.

    Oct. 27: Fashions on the Field. All day. Sales Pavilion. In a new event, top dressed patrons will vie to be named Keeneland's best dressed patrons after strutting their stuff in front of celebrity judges. Fashionattheraces.com.

Superstition has long been a regular presence around the nation's backstretches, hence the reason many horsemen fear the jinx when others start heaping praise upon a runner in their barn.

In the case of multiple Grade I winner Groupie Doll, trainer and co-owner Buff Bradley gratefully relishes all the big-time talk directed at his filly. For his family and its Frankfort-based operation, it is a reminder that sometimes reality surpasses expectations.

"I love to think about having the top female sprinter this year because I never thought I would be able to think that," Bradley said.

With three consecutive victories including two Grade I triumphs, Groupie Doll is regarded as the leader of the female sprint division — a status she looks to further solidify when she starts against eight others in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland.

The 6-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America is one of five graded stakes set for Keeneland's Saturday card highlighted by the Grade I First Lady, Grade I Dixiana Breeders' Futurity, and Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile.

It was in Keeneland's Grade I Vinery Madison last April that Groupie Doll showed her connections — who famously campaigned the Grade I-winning gelding Brass Hat — they had another homebred to brag about.

Since taking that test by 3 lengths over the likes of reigning female sprint champion Musical Romance, the daughter of Bowman's Band has stamped herself as the likely favorite for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint next month with triumphs in the Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in May and the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes on Sept. 8.

"It's really living the dream to have these kind of horses that we've been blessed with," said Bradley, who bred and co-owns Groupie Doll along with his father, Fred. "Brass Hat and Groupie Doll have made us. To have a horse of this caliber is really great, it's good for our farm and our family."

Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com.

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