Groupie Doll retires on winning note at Hurricane Bertie Stakes

Groupie Doll came all the way from last place to take the $200,000 Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on February 9 at Gulfstream Park. The two-time champion horse was running the last race of her career and went out on a winning note after getting off to a slow start with jockey Rajiv Maragh on board. Groupie Doll started the race as a 2/5 favourite, but was trailing the field of seven horses at the backstretch before Maragh took control of the situation in the upper stretch.

The six-year-old horse ran the race at 1:14.68 and won it by seven lengths. The time was close to the track record of 1:14.44 which was set back in 2005 by Forest Danger. Groupie Doll won the Eclipse Award in 2012 and 2013 as North America’s best female sprinter. She will now head off to the breeding farm after 23 career races and a record of 12-4-4. Her total earnings reached $2,648,850.

Groupie Doll was bought for $3.1 million in November by Mandy Pope and after the race said she was so excited for the chestnut mare that she was in tears. Pope said she was worried when Groupie Doll fell behind, but the fans told her not to worry about it.

During her career Groupie Doll has won some major races such as the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in 2012 and 2013 and the Vinery Madison and Humana Distaff stakes in 2012, and the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes in 2012. Originally, the horse was going to run her last race back on November 30 against males at the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.

However, after she struggled to a fourth-place finish at the event Pope decided to race again and let her go out in style at the 6-and a-half furlong Hurricane Bertie. Groupie Doll will now be bred to Tapit and Pope said she doesn’t think she’ll be tempted to attend the horse’s racing career.

Jamaican Smoke led the Bertie and was closely followed by Distortion, Wildcat Lily and Five Star Momma while Groupie Doll fell to the rear. Maragh said the horse sometimes gets off to a slow start, but it worked out well since he then had a chance to move to the outside. The jockey said he didn’t want to get pinned on the inside. Groupie Doll came on at the quarter pole and was soon out in front for good.

Maragh claimed Groupie Doll was just flying by then and believed she’d easily win the race. He added that he even slowed her down near the finish line since there wasn’t any need for her to run any faster. Maragh stated that he’s happy Groupie Doll is going out in style as a winner, especially after the disappointment of the Cigar Mile and it was a remarkable performance by a remarkable horse.

Five Star Momma was ridden by Abdiel Jaen and they placed second with Wildcat Lily three lengths behind to show in third with jockey Jose Alvarez aboard. Fourth place went to Jamaican Smoke followed by Heart Stealer then Distortion and My Due Process finished seventh.

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