HENDERSON, Ky. (Wednesday, August 9, 2017) — If the 5-year-old mare Brooklynsway runs to her best form, she’s the one to beat in Sunday’s $100,000, Grade 3 Groupie Doll Stakes at Ellis Park.
Her earnings of $722,597 dwarfs the projected field of fillies and mares competing at a mile. Her six wins have all come in stakes, including Keeneland’s Grade 3 Doubledogdare last year in which Brooklynsway defeated multiple Grade 1 winner I’m A Chatterbox. Her body of triple-digit speed figures are tops.
Then there are her last two starts, a 19-3/4-length drubbing in the Iowa Distaff that marked her first race in almost 13 months after undergoing ankle surgery. Trainer Bernie Flint wheeled Brooklynsway back eight days later in Indiana Grand’s $100,000 Marie Hulman George, in which she pushed the pace before tiring to fifth in a race won by Groupie Doll contender Tiger Moth.
It was a marked difference with the 2016 Marie Hulman George, which Brooklynsway won by 9 1 /2 lengths before being sidelined with the bone chip.
“Bring ’em on,” Georgia Jackson, trainer Bernie Flint’s long-time assistant, said with a laugh. “,,, She didn’t get anything out of her first race. (At Indiana) she made the lead at the three-sixteenths pole and ran out of air. She just got tired.”
“They go to the farm, they get relaxed, you bring them in and you work them a couple of times and they work nicely,” Flint said. “But you don’t want to hammer on them because they’re coming back. She had ankle surgery, and she threw a clunker. I wasn’t going to run in Indiana, but she came back out of that race so well. She didn’t get anything out of that race, it was just a poor work. If she’d gotten anything out of the first race, she’d have run much better at Indiana.
“I knew we were playing with fire, because she was off a very long time. But she came back good. She could have been nervous in the trailer (shipping to Iowa) and everything. A lot of things could have come up. But she ran a bad race. We got her back here, went all over her and she was fine… You just get a lot of cobwebs in a year.”
Jockey Calvin Borel will ride Brooklynsway for the first time in the Groupie Doll. The three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Famer has been aboard for her last two workouts, a lively half-mile in 47 1/5 seconds and more recently five-eighths of a mile in a fine 1:01 at Churchill Downs.
“She worked good,” said Borel, who rode Groupie Doll three times in her career. “She’s got tactical speed, and the way the track has been playing right now, I think she’ll run well. I mean, the filly is doing real, real good. I’m happy Bernie gave me the shot to ride her. I don’t think she got enough out of her first race back. Her last race, she didn’t get beat that bad, but she’s doing a lot better now. Believe me what I’m telling you. I love her a lot.”
The Ontario-born Brooklynsway was purchased at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s November sale for $180,000 by New Albany, Ind.,
oncologist Dr. Naveed Chowhan, who owned a share in her sire, the Adena Springs North Canadian-based stallion Giant Gizmo.
Brooklynsway made her first start for Chowhan and Flint off a six-month layoff, finishing fourth before taking Keeneland’s Doubledogdare at 25-1 odds in her next race.
Entries will be taken Thursday for the Groupie Doll and the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Memorial on turf. The latter is coming up inordinately tough for the purse offered, including 2016 Guilliams and Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Wise Dan winner Pleuven, the Flint-trained multiple stakes-winner One Mean Man, Grade 2 winner Flatlined and possibly nine-time winner and $659,378-earner Chocolate Ride.
One Mean Man, a homebred for Flint and Louisville’s Ron Hillerich, captured five stakes, lost another by a head and was fourth by a total of 1 1/2 lengths in Arlington’s Grade 1 Secretariat last year. But he’s found it tougher going now facing older horses as a 4-year-old. In his last start, One Mean Man was second at 17-1 odds in Indiana’s $100,000 Warrior Veterans.
On the air: Ellis Park analyst Joe Kristufek will be on the Drew Deener show at 8:45 a.m. Central Thursday on ESPN Louisville 680-AM and 93.9-FM in Louisville, 105.7-FM in Frankfort, live streaming at espnlouisville.com and via mobile with no data charge by calling 605-477-9680. Kristufek will discuss Groupie Doll and Ellis’ Aug. 20 Bluegrass Tournament live-money handicapping contest presented by AmWager.
Meet Borel Saturday morning: Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey and Hall of Famer Calvin Borel is the featured guest at this Saturday morning’s Making of a Racehorse: Let’s Get Started fan experience. The free, family-friendly program — which is designed to let people see up close the preparation that goes into getting a horse to a race and to launch a racing program — begins at 7:30 a.m. Central by the starting gate, positioned in the first-turn chute for schooling. Parking is right next to the gate in the south end of the parking lot near the Ohio River levee. The casual program lasts about two hours, including a backside visit. Kids will have the opportunity to ride a stable pony (highly supervised) on a lap around the barn toward the end of the program.
Sprinting out: There’s an Ellis Park connection to the colt whose $1 million price tag Tuesday night matched the top for Fasig-Tipton’s recently completely Saratoga yearling sale. The colt is a son of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb and the first foal out of Flashy American, who in one of her final starts ran in Ellis’ 2015 Groupie Doll, the multiple stakes-winner finishing 11th behind victorious Call Pat. Flashy American’s baby boy was purchased by Kerri Radcliffe, bloodstock manager for Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
Aug. 20 live-money Bluegrass Tournament: Ellis Park is back with a handicapping tournament, this a live-money event presented by AmWager. Entry fee is $500 ($200 to prize money and $300 bankroll), betting minimum of $20 on each of 10 races from Ellis Park’s card and optional races to be announced. Top four finishers get trip to 2018 National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas, plus hotel and airfare up to $500. Top 10 finishers earn prize money. Register at www.amwager.com/bluegrasstournament.