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Groupie Doll arrives at Gulfstream; Macho Man, Gulfport breeze

Groupie Doll is aiming to return in the Inside Information on March 17 (Benoit Photos)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll arrived by van at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning.

Scheduled to make her 2013 debut in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream on March 17, Groupie Doll had been turned out for the past month at trainer Buff Bradley's Indian Ridge Farm near Frankfort, Kentucky. The four-year-old daughter of Bowman's Band shared a paddock with Brass Hat, a retired 12-year-old gelding whom Bradley saddled for a Grade 1 victory in the 2006 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream.

"She's been out every day. I don't think she's lost a lot (of conditioning). Brass Hat keeps her going," Bradley said. "She'll probably gallop the month of January and start breezing in February."

Groupie Doll, who is the odds-on favorite to be named champion female sprinter at the Eclipse Awards ceremony at Gulfstream Park on January 19, won three Grade 1 stakes in 2012 and had a five-race winning streak snapped in her final start of the year. Stay Thirsty just got up to nose her out in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct on November 24.

"It was another great race. I don't regret taking her up there," Bradley said. "She showed everyone then that she's one of the greatest."

Groupie Doll's 4 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint looked easy, but it was achieved on a track that favored speed, which presented a challenge for the late-running filly.

"You could see early on in the Breeders' Cup that she struggled a little bit because we knew we had to use her a little bit to have her stay up close and not let them get too far away," Bradley said. "Rajiv and I talked about it. I don't like to take a horse out of their running style, but we knew we were going to have to encourage her a little more earlier in the race."

Groupie Doll was bred by Bradley and his 81-year-old father, Fred, who is currently dealing with physical issues.

"I went home for four days for Christmas and had to put him in the hospital with congestive heart failure. They're draining the fluid; they're giving him Lasix actually to drain the fluid," Bradley said. "He should be doing better. It was tough to leave, but I had Groupie Doll coming in today.

Also at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Mucho Macho Man and Derby hopefuls Gulfport and Frac Daddy were notable on the worktab.

Mucho Macho Man is gearing up for a title defense in the Sunshine Millions (Adam Coglianese Photography)
Multiple Grade 2 winner Mucho Macho Man breezed in preparation for a title defense in the January 19 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

Exercise rider Nick Petro Jr. was aboard for the breeze through splits of :11 2/5, :22 2/5 and :34 3/5. The son of Macho Uno ripped the half-mile in :46 1/5 before galloping out in 1:00, but was officially credited with a five-furlong work in that time.

"He went really good," said trainer Kathy Ritvo, whose soon-to-be five-year-old was equipped with blinkers for the workout. "He likes to train. He's a horse that's happiest when he trains."

Mucho Macho Man, who defeated Ron the Greek to capture the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic last year, concluded a productive 2012 campaign with a close second-place finish behind Fort Larned in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

Trainer Dale Romans sent Gulfport to the track for a drill in preparation for his 2013 debut next Saturday.

The son of Unbridled's Song, who is scheduled to run in the Grade 2 Jerome at Aqueduct, was credited with a six-furlong work in 1:12 2/5 under jockey Corey Lanerie. Gulfport actually blasted five furlongs in :58 2/5 before galloping out faster than a trio of six-furlong workers.

"He continues to improve," Romans said of the colt who won his final two starts of the 2012 campaign at Churchill Downs. "He's a very classy horse with a class pedigree. He has the looks and the natural talent, and he's just gotten better.

"Today's work is about as good as it gets."

Romans' Dewey Square, a prominent candidate for the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on January 26, galloped instead of working Saturday morning.

The Ken McPeek-trained Frac Daddy, a near-miss runner-up in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, breezed an easy half-mile in :49 3/5. Goals for the son of Scat Daddy include the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on February 23 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30.

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