Owner/breeder Fred Bradley, left, holds up the trophy with jockey Rajiv… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)
Life has left Fred Bradley, 81, weakened in a wheelchair.
The small-time horse breeder from Frankfort, Ky., leaned back from his vantage point and smiled on Saturday at Santa Anita.
"I'm not getting any better," Bradley concluded. "But I'm not getting any worse."
Groupie Doll, a 4-year-old filly Bradley and his trainer/son, William "Buff" Bradley, personally pulled to birth on their 320-acre farm, won the $1-million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint by 41/2 lengths in the most dominating individual performance of the nine Saturday Breeders' Cup races.
"I don't know what they're surprised about," Fred Bradley said Saturday. "We thought she was going to win all the way."
The retired Air Force general, attorney and Kentucky state senator knows his horse.
"I want you to know I bred this horse, I bred this trainer too," he said.
In a 2008 deal at Keeneland, Ky., experienced horseman Buff Bradley selected by sight a colt named Bowman's Band to mate with their mare, Deputy Doll. Bowman's Band died that year of colic, leaving the world with Groupie Doll as the legacy.
The filly eclipsed $1.5 million in winnings Saturday, winning for the sixth time in her last nine races.
That run began late last fall, when Fred Bradley was in poor shape, taking a fall that broke five ribs, with two of them sticking into his stomach cavity and causing an infection that left him bedridden. Fred and Buff watched Groupie Doll races from the hospital television.
"This has been the best therapy," Fred Bradley said.
In the first year of the Breeders' Cup opting to ban the race-day use of the medication Lasix in five juvenile races, California's head equine doctor reported no horses bled.
Dr. Rick Arthur said the horses were examined for any visible bleeding immediately after their races, and again more thoroughly in the receiving barn.
Lasix is used by horsemen to prevent bleeding in the lungs caused by excessive exercise.
Jim Rome celebrates
Sports-talk personality Jim Rome will have plenty to talk about on radio and television this week. He's part owner of Mizdirection, a 4-year-old filly who rallied from far back in a 14-horse field to win the $1-million Turf Sprint by a half length under jockey Mike Smith. It was Smith's 17th Breeders' Cup triumph.
"I talked to Bobby Flay on my show earlier in the week and I said, 'You've been there before, you know what it's like.' And he said, 'Outside of the birth of my daughter it was the most exhilarating feeling in his life.' I would say the same, but I'm too numb to know how it feels," Rome said.
Wise Dan set a Santa Anita course record in winning the $2-million Mile, finishing in 1:31.78. The record was established in 1997 by Atticus.
"It's an incredible accomplishment," trainer Charles Lopresti said. "He's an incredible horse."