Athena, Academic Break Could Target Groupie Doll Stakes

Athena, Academic Break Could Target Groupie Doll Stakes

Athena winning the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs – Coady Photography

Ellis Park Press Release: Trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi is considering the Aug. 6 Groupie Doll for both Athena and Academic Break. Athena won Churchill Downs’ six-furlong Roxelana Stakes over I’m A Looker in her last start, while Academic Break was a fast-closing fourth Friday in a second-level allowance race at Churchill Downs.

Athena, a daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, is 5 for 13 lifetime, including winning a $100,000 stakes at Laurel for one of her three victories at the Groupie Doll’s mile distance. Winning a graded stakes would be huge for adding to Athena’s residual value as a broodmare.

“She’s got her certain style; she loves sitting like third, just off the pace and having something to run at,” said Pitts-Blasi, who gets on Athena in morning training. “She’s one of those mares where I think the older she gets, the better she’ll get. She’s one of those fillies who know when they win. It picks her head up, her whole demeanor. She gets real proud of herself.”

Of being Athena’s exercise rider, the Churchill-based Pitts-Blasi said, “I call her my spoiled little heifer. But she’s one of those ones who tell me what to do. Less is more with her. She likes ponying and loves her jogging. She likes to gallop, too, but she’s one of those you just keep happy, likes to do her own thing. She’s neat to gallop, has a great demeanor and just lovely to train.”

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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