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."