Thank you, Mandy Pope.

One of the most difficult things about following horse racing is that the equine athletes don't stay in the sport for nearly as long as many of the prominent human athletes in other sports. Part of that has to do with the soundness of horses and the rigors of racing, but another part of it has to do with retiring horses to stud after such short careers. Take Verrazano, for example -- who ended his three year old season with a respectable showing in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. However, even before that race it had been announced that he would be retiring to stud immediately afterward.

But, how is the sport of horse racing going to maintain itself, if not for people being interested in it? And, what better way for people to get interested and stay interested in the sport than to be able to follow a top-class horse for an extended period of time?

In light of this, I'm so glad to hear that Groupie Doll will be running the Cigar Mile.

I'll admit...I had my doubts about her in the Breeders' Cup. I know she won last year, and went off as the favourite this year, but i wasn't sure if she could repeat. She proved in the Breeders' Cup that she still has it in her. In light of that, it made me sad that she was going straight to Keeneland after Santa Anita, and being sold as breeding stock. I have no doubt she'll be a promising broodmare someday...but now? I know she's five, and retiring a sound horse at five is far more reasonable and forgivable than retiring a sound horse at three.

Still, it feels like her story on the track is still unfolding. She just repeated as the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champion. I wondered what would happen if she went back to the Cigar Mile. I wondered what was going to happen if she had yet another rematch with Judy The Beauty. I wondered, but didn't think there would be any new chapters to Groupie Doll's story until her progeny started racing a few years down the road.

But, now? Her new owner, Mandy Pope, is letting her return to the track, with Buff Bradley still training. Groupie Doll will be running in the Cigar Mile, facing a field likely to include fellow Breeders' Cup champion Goldencents. We don't know how much longer she is going to run, but I'm grateful that she will continue to run. Her story will continue on the track, and horse racing fans have one more reason to remain captivated and enthusiastic.

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