Gulfstream Park News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL- Two-time Eclipse Award-winning Groupie Doll breezed five-furlongs at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning, preparing for her scheduled final career start in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) on Feb. 9.
The 6-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band was timed in 1:00 4/5 after finishing the last quarter of a mile in 23 3/5 seconds while traveling easily under exercise rider Jada Schlenk.
“She looked like she did it very well. We wanted to have a little easier work this week without pushing her. Last week, she saw some company in front of her and ran them down,” trainer Buff Bradley said. “We just wanted to get a nice easy work and get some distance in her. She galloped out really strong.
Groupie Doll, purchased at auction by Mandy Pope for $3.1 million in November, has worked three times at Gulfstream since finishing a troubled fourth in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. Last week, she breezed five furlongs in 59 4/5 seconds.
The Hurricane Bertie, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, is scheduled to be Groupie Doll’s 23rd and last start of a brilliant career that includes back-to-back triumphs in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.
“We’ll probably breeze her next Sunday and go a half, hopefully, a sharp half,” said Bradley, who bred Groupie Doll with his father, Fred.
Ready to Act Gets Another Chance in Sweetest Chant
Ready to Act will get another crack at a black-type event in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes on Sunday at Gulfstream Park. The gray filly is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, and leading jockey Javier Castellano will be in the irons when she breaks from the rail in Sunday’s test.
The daughter of More Than Ready looked home free in the Natalma Stakes (G2) at Woodbine on September 14, but ducked in sharply and dumped rider Rajiv Maragh. She flashed some early foot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita on November 1 before winding up sixth. Trainer Chad Brown had a confidence booster in mind when Ready to Act was bet down to 1-2 in a Gulfstream allowance on December 19, but she was unable to resist Duff One’s late surge and settled for second.
“I’m still not sure what happened last time,” Brown said. “I’m disappointed that she didn’t win. She ran okay and has trained very well coming out of the race.”
Brown believes that Ready to Act will be well served by her inside draw.
“She can save ground from there,” Brown said. “She’s got enough early speed to put herself near the front, so she should work out a good trip.”
Brown also offered updates on Normandy Invasion and Cousin Stephen. Benched after finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the Fox Hill Farms colorbearer is nearing a return to afternoon action. The Tapit colt had previously been a close second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1). A foot abscess emerged soon after his effort on the first Saturday in May, and Brown opted to send the colt to WinStar Farm to recuperate.
“It was a bunch of little things,” Brown commented. “He had a hoof problem and some general body soreness. There was a little bit of bone bruising, too, so overall the horse needed some time. The folks at WinStar Farm did a terrific job of rehabbing him for us and sent him to us in terrific shape.”
Now four, Normandy Invasion has recorded five drills since rejoining the Brown string at Palm Meadows. He earned a bullet for his five-eighths move in 1:00 4/5 last Sunday morning.
“He’s been doing very well,” Brown added. “His training is coming along, but we’ve got no schedule. After the next work or two, we’ll go ahead and circle a race somewhere.”
Cousin Stephen will also get a chance to regain his luster. An impressive maiden winner at Aqueduct on November 7, the son of Proud Citizen was the 8-5 favorite in a hot Gulfstream allowance on January 3. However, the bay colt raced in second before being swallowed up late and wound up fifth, beaten just over two lengths by the highly regarded duo of Commissioner and Top Billing. There was an excuse for that effort, according to Brown. “He scoped with a fair amount of mucus,” Brown noted. “I’m not sure how much that hindered him, but it had to have affected him on some level. But he’s coming along good and we’ll pick something out for him shortly.”
Nineteen Nominated for Hutcheson
Looking ahead: Nineteen horses were nominated for the 64thrunning of the $200,000 Hutcheson (G3) on Feb. 1, including Grade 2 winner Corfu and unbeaten No Nay Never, a Group 1 winner in France last summer, along with stakes winners Cool Cowboy, Long On Value, Mighty Brown and Wildcat Red.
Also nominated were Coup de Grace, who is running in Saturday’s $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2), Breitling Flyer, Can’t Stop the Kid, Dudeman, Duty Proper, Gambler’s Ghost, Harpoon, Joh’s Gone Wild, Manhattan Johnnie, Pablo Del Monte, Spot, Tashir and Trail Blaze.
The eighth running of the $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint drew 23 nominations, including stakes winners Berlino Di Tiger, Determinato, Fiddlers Patriot, Mr. Online, Night Officer, Ribo Bobo, Spring to the Sky, Tightend Touchdown, Travelin Man, Varsity and Wicked Tune.
Also nominated were A P Elvis, Band of Joy, Bold Thunder, Dashing David, Don’t Say No, Fan Base, Happy My Way, Kingston Bay, Partyallnightlong, Stormy Rush, Subtle and Speechify, an impressive winner of Thursday’s eighth race.