First item up for bid is a classicly composed bedside lamp, winner of the 2012 Greenwood Elementary 2nd Grade Pottery Stakes, sired by foundation material Clay, fired by a Greenwood Elementary homebred kiln. Bidding starts at $200,000.
With her recent acquisitions of champion mares, Mandy Pope has quickly established herself as a major player in the breeding industry. After buying Havre de Grace for a record $10,000,000 at Fasig-Tipton, she follows that up with a winning bid of $3.1 million for the presumptive two-time Eclipse Award Winning Female Sprinter, Groupie Doll.
Now there are several noted differences between the two that make up for the huge disparity in prices:
1- Havre de Grace is by a legitimate stallion in Saint Liam
2- HdG was dominant at classic distances
3- HdG beat the boys in the Woodward
But there are also two key similarities
1- Both are unquestioned champions
2- Both are from royal female families
When writing about Havre de Grace I said, "I'm not going out on a limb to say that no other broodmare with her racing record in recent memory has the same plethora of talent in her lineage. Not Zenyatta, not Rachel Alexandra, not Azeri. Havre de Grace stands alone in that regard." I stand by that sentiment today, in fact, you can add "not Mizdirection, not Groupie Doll" to that list.
But that aside, Groupie Doll is no slouch in terms of the quality of her female family. While the family went cold for a few generations, there is no doubt that the vast majority of her pure talent comes from her dam's lineage and her sire's.
Groupie Doll, by Bowman's Band, out of Deputy Doll (Silver Deputy)
So let's start at the major building block of the female family, Flower Bed. From Reines-de-Course.com:
Flower Bed's first foal, Pelouse by Pavot, was stakes placed. She hit paydirt with her second, Flower Bowl by *Alibhai, winner of the Delaware and Ladies Handicaps. Flower Bowl produced double champion Bowl of Flowers by Sailor, in turn dam of stakes winner Spruce Bouquet; stakes placed Royal Bowl; and major Australian sire Whiskey Road (sire of Strawberry Road). But Flower Bowl's most potent and lasting contribution were the Chef-de-Race full brothers Graustark and His Majesty, both sons of *Ribot.
Though Graustark has proved more effective as a broodmare sire, His Majesty had a major siring son in the now pensioned champion Pleasant Colony. Because producing two Chefs-de-Race is so rare an accomplishment, Bowl of Flowers also deserves Reine-de-Course status.
In addition to Flower Bowl, Flower Bed foaled the stakes winner Brambles by Beau Max and stakes winner and stakes producer Floral Park by *Alibhai. Floral Park is the second dam of Grade I winner Rootentootenwooten and Grade II placed Turn Bold. Floral Park also foaled stakes producers Mother Nature, Patriotic Petunia and Mugwumpery, dam of Grade II winner Muckraker and two other stakes placed runners.
The next major producer from Flower Bed is winner Green Finger by Better Self. Green Finger is the dam of Grade II winner Free Hand and Grade II placed Blandford Park, plus stakes producer Green Signal.
Multiflora, a 1961 filly by Beau Max, is the last of Flower Bed's major producing daughters. Multiflora foaled double champion Gallant Bloom, herself a stakes producer.
Sure, sure, we're talking about a dominant family of the 1960s. But c'mon, we're talking about a family that's produced multiple sires, champions, and blue hen mares, no matter what the timing. While the percentage of Groupie Doll's genome that are directly from Flower Bed is infinitisemally small (the math says 1/32nd), to me it is still an important factor in understanding the quality of her family. While her dam, Deputy Doll, and graddam, Slick Turn, have not produced much of anything, 1/4 of those genes that define excellence (whichever they may be) can trace directly to that female family.
But let me not forget Silver Deputy, Groupie Doll's broodmare sire. Having owned (and just sold at Keeneland) a Silver Deputy mare, I can unabashedly say that I love him as a broodmare sire. He's kind of sneaky in that regard, not a great sire, but a nice quality broodmare sire. He is currently 19th on the Broodmare Sire rankings from Bloodhorse.com with 94 Stakes Winners from 1,567 foals. Their average earnings index is 1.46, which rivals esteemed names such as Rainbow Quest and Unbridled's Song and exceeds even the great Dynaformer. Many of the top broodmare sires can be attributed to the fact that they demanded the best mares of their time, so of course they get better foals as broodmare sires. But Silver Deputy was never a great sire, so the assumption that he's carrying much of the load with his broodmare sire statistics is a fair one to make.
So what do I think of Groupie Doll as a broodmare? She's a classy champion that has done everything asked of her. Will she produce a foal that exceeds her own successes? No. But that's an impossible task to ask of any colt or filly. While certainly not of the ilk of Azeri or HdG, she's a fine broodmare prospect, depsite being by the no-name Bowman's Band. Would I have paid $3.1 million? No. I thought $1.8 million was a fair price, but I can see why you would stretch to almost double that. But then again, it seemed every horse in the November Sale went for double what I thought they would, so that's nothing new.