John D. Gunther’s Tiger Moth earned her second straight stakes victory on Sunday when capturing the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) at Ellis Park with jockey Corey Lanerie aboard.
The five-year-old daughter of Street Sense bided her time in 10th early in the 11-distaffer field as 2-1 favorite Put Da Blame On Me ticked off splits of :23.18, :45.79, 1:10.37 and 1:23.29. Tiger Moth followed Walkabout, last down the backstretch, as that one began her move, but ended going seven wide while Walkabout split runners.
Walkabout appeared the winner following her move, but Tiger Moth quickly made up the ground she lost, scoring the three-quarter length win in a final time of 1:36.30 for a mile on the fast main track.
Tiger Moth returned $9.40 as the 7-2 second choice. Walkabout had two lengths to spare on Danzatrice, who in turn easily took third by 1 1/4 lengths over Pinch Hit. It was another head back to She Mabee Wild, who was followed under the wire by Put Da Blame On Me, Cced, Adore, Hone In, Brooklynsway and She Takes Heart.
Tiger Moth is now 17-5-4-2, $348,207, in her career. She entered the Groupie Doll off a first stakes triumph in the Mari Hulman George Stakes at Indiana Grand on July 15. The Brad Cox trainee’s other stakes credit came as a third-placing in the Azeri Stakes (G3) during the spring at Oaklawn Park.
Bred in Kentucky, Tiger Moth is out of the Sir Cat mare Saratoga Cat, making her a half-sister to Grade 2 hero Last Gunfighter as well as the dam of recent Sorrento Stakes (G2) runner-up Dancing Belle. This is the same female family as multiple Grade 2 winner Diabolo, third in the 1975 editions of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
GROUPIE DOLL QUOTES
Brad Cox, trainer Tiger Moth, winner
“Going in, we thought the race had pace in it. I figured that would be a good set-up. Normally, with large fields at a mile, a mile and a sixteenth, you’re going to get the pace set up. So we did. The instructions to (jockey) Corey (Lanerie) was to stay after her, keep riding her, and as they come back she’ll keep coming. She did. Big effort. Huge accomplishment for her as a broodmare.
She seems to do her best running when you can just fan her off the turn and get her out in the middle of the track and give her a clean shot. She’s not a filly to get stopped, change path and get her going again. She has that one long, sustained run. Kind of like a train. Not that she’s big. She just gets in that one stride and is coming, never gets tired.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey Tiger Moth, winner
“It feels great, first time winning this stakes here at Ellis Park. It feels good to win the signature race of the meet. You get all the people here, especially on a day like today, all the fans come out for this race. It’s a big day. You get a lot of publicity for winning it, so I was glad to finally get it done.”
Ellis Park Racing Secretary Dan Bork carded the Groupie Doll on a Sunday when there is not the competition from out-of-state stakes.
“I like the way they’re scheduling them now so we can go somewhere to ride stakes, get back over here and not lose any business.
“(Trainer) Brad (Cox) and his assistant Tessa (Bisha) told me it would probably be better if I came around with her, because she would be back and she kind of has a grinding run. I went really wide, a lot wider than I normally would. I felt like I went a mile and an eighth. When I saw (jockey) Brian (Hernandez Jr.) get through on Walkabout, I said, ‘I’m not going to beat him.’ But once we straightened out for home and my mare got on her right lead, she just proved that she was going to get him and that she was the best horse today. Because she covered a lot more ground and was still able to get it done.
“It looks like her form keeps getting better and better. Brad and his team have done a great job. This was the first time I saw her and sat on her. Glad to be a passenger, and glad they let me ride her.”
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Walkabout, second
“Being second gets a little old. I really thought when we got through that we had it done, but that other horse has really gotten good right now and was just able to get up on his at the end. I thought they were the best two horses in the race, on paper, and it turned out that way. I just wish we could have gotten there in front.”
Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey Danzatrice, third
“She was trying. I chose to save a little bit more ground, and waited a little bit longer before she got loose. But once she did, she never quit trying.”