May 18, 2024

Pinch Hit heads Cox duo in Groupie Doll

Pinch Hit winning the Mari George Hulman Stakes at Indiana Grand (c) John Engelhardt Photo

Pinch Hit will take some beating in Sunday’s $100,000 Groupie Doll (G3) at Ellis Park. Fourth when making her stakes debut in last year’s edition, the four-year-old filly returns to the Pea Patch with a pair of stakes tallies under her belt including the July 14 Mari Hulman George at Indiana Grand in her last outing.

From the final crop of Harlan’s Holiday, Pinch Hit ranks first in BRIS Prime Power (137.3) by a wide margin among 11 fillies and mares. She’s one of two in the field for leading trainer Brad Cox and Shaun Bridgmohan rides.

“The funny thing is that after the race last year, Brad said, ‘Circle the Groupie Doll next year. We’re going to win it with this filly,’” owner/breeder Richard Klein said. “(Cox) said, ‘Our goal is to get her to this race next year and to win the Grade 3.’

Cox will also send out Sense of Bravery in the one-mile event. A maiden winner two starts back, the three-year-old filly will jump straight to stakes company following a 7 ¼-length allowance romp over the track and distance on July 13. Fernando De La Cruz will guide the daughter of Street Sense.

Other contenders include multiple graded-placed Torrent, fourth in the Mari Hulman George; Honey Bunny, who enters on the improve for John Ortiz with a win and a runner-up finish versus stakes foes at Prairie Meadows in her last two outings; stakes queen Jenda’s Agenda; and last-out allowance scorer Champagne Problems.

The $75,000 Ellis Park Derby kicks off the stakes action Sunday and 12 sophomores will contest the one-mile race. Believe in Royalty, Ebben, Front Door, Kowboy Karma, and Limation are among the main principals.