Over the course of 7 furlongs on the afternoon of Nov. 3, Fred and Buff Bradley's homebred Groupie Doll embodied everything her connections spent decades seeking to achieve in the Thoroughbred industry.
It didn't matter how much her fellow rivals had previously achieved or that she was traveling on one of the more difficult paths that day. By sticking to what she did best, the daughter of Bowman's Band eventually got the ultimate reward for her unyielding diligence.
When Groupie Doll's off-the-pace kick overcame a speed-favoring Santa Anita track en route to her 41/2-length triumph in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, officials could have killed two birds with one stone by bestowing her with the year-end divisional hardware in addition to her Breeders' Cup prize.
Groupie Doll was named the outstanding female sprinter during Saturday's Eclipse Awards ceremony. Given that the chestnut mare is the first champion campaigned by the Frankfort-based Bradley clan, it was a moment they wanted to savor.
Groupie Doll, who was also a finalist for champion older female but lost that category to Royal Delta, garnered 250 of a possible 254 first-place votes in earning champion female sprinter.
Her year ended when she fell a nose short of 2011 Travers Stakes winner Stay Thirsty in the Grade I Cigar Mile on Nov. 24. But in her eight previous starts, Groupie Doll stamped herself as the undisputed leader of her division and, some believe, the best sprinter of either sex in 2012.
Beginning with her victory in the Grade I Vinery Madison Stakes at Keene-land last April, Groupie Doll rattled off five consecutive triumphs that featured more Grade I heroics, including her rally in the Breeders' Cup over the likes of champion Musical Romance.
Her turn of foot was as devastating over synthetic surfaces as it was when she set a track record in the 7-furlong, Grade I Humana Distaff over the main track at Churchill Downs in May — and she's not done yet.
Despite suffering from a minor infection earlier this month, Groupie Doll is on track to begin her 5-year-old campaign in the Grade II Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream on March 17.
"She ran hard all year, she ran against some of the best," said Buff Bradley, who trains Groupie Doll in addition to co-owning and breeding her with his father, Fred. "When she put together those five races, every race was dominant. This is very special to us."
Fred Bradley was unable to travel to the awards as he recovers from congestive heart failure.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl