• Decision on Shackleford’s status for Cigar Mile due Monday
• Heineken Holidayfest works
Exiting a 4 ½-length victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, Groupie Doll rides a five-race winning streak into the Cigar Mile including additional Grade 1 victories in Keeneland’s Vinery Madison and Churchill Downs’ Humana Distaff this spring. In her only previous start against males, Groupie Doll was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Boys At Tosconova in a January 27 optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park.
“I wasn’t looking for another race for her; I wasn’t looking for a race against boys,” Bradley said by phone from Kentucky. “I thought that trip [to and from California] might knock her back a little, but they had the parade of Breeders’ Cup champions here at Churchill last weekend and she was just feeling so good. We took her to the track to train her just to let her down a little. I never even thought about the Cigar Mile until that weekend.”
Groupie Doll worked a half-mile at Churchill on Saturday, covering the distance in 48.20.
“She came back good and ate up last night,” Bradley said. “Since the layoff over the summer she’s only had three starts and she’s won all three of them impressively. She’ll get a vacation after this regardless, but she’s got something left. We want to run her when she’s ready to run, and she’s ready right now. The one-turn mile is good for her and I feel she can be competitive in a race like this.”
Bradley, who bred and co-owns Groupie Doll with his father, Fred, said the 4-year-old Bowman’s Band filly would van to Aqueduct on Thanksgiving Day.
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A decision on whether multiple Grade 1 winner Shackleford will run in Saturday’s Cigar Mile Handicap will be made tomorrow, trainer Dale Romans said this morning from Kentucky.
“There are a lot of factors going into the decision,” said Romans, who also is considering the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs for the 2011 Preakness and 2012 Metropolitan Handicap winner. “He likes it at Aqueduct, and he likes it at Churchill Downs. There’s a plane to New York on Tuesday, so we’ll make a decision by Monday.”
On Saturday, Shackleford went a half-mile in 47.40 on the main track at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard. The breeze – his first since a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 3 – was the second-fastest of 57 at the distance.
“He worked really well and seemed to come out of it fine this morning,” said Romans.
Owned by Mike Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge and the Phillips Racing Partnership, Shackleford has won more than $2.8 million with a record of 5-5-1 from 19 career starts. In his only appearance at Aqueduct, he was third after a wide trip in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April.
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A number of contenders for Saturday’s Heinken Holidayfest stakes turned in their final works Sunday morning, with trainer Todd Pletcher sending out more than a half-dozen workers including Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap candidate Stay Thirsty, who went a half-mile in 48.85 in company with Grade 2 Remsen nominee Revolutionary (48.84) over the training track.
Also breezing in preparation for the Remsen from Pletcher’s barn were Violence (4f, 48.04), Delhomme (5f, 1:01.13) and Micromanage (5f, 1:01.12), while his Grade 2 Demoiselle hopeful Unlimited Budget worked a half-mile in 48.06.
On the main track, 2010 Cigar Mile winner Jersey Town signaled his readiness for Saturday’s race with a five-furlong breeze in 59.59. Fellow Cigar Mile candidates Buffum (5f, 1:02.06) and Hymn Book (4f, 49.60) also worked on the main track.
In other works, Book Review tuned up for the Grade 1 Gazelle with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 and Emollient went a half in 48.42 in preparation for the Demoiselle.