06/29/2013 1:33PM

Churchill Downs notes: Groupie Doll has first workout of year

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Tom Keyser
Groupie Doll worked three furlongs in 35.80 seconds at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll had her first workout of the year when breezing three furlongs early Saturday in 35.80 seconds over a fast Churchill Downs track.

Trainer Buff Bradley said he was very pleased with the move, which came with jockey John McKee in the saddle. Groupie Doll, the top female sprinter of 2012, eased back into training in early May after getting almost three months off at Bradley’s farm.

“She was eager to do what she did today,” Bradley said. “John had a nice hold on her the whole way and did a good job keeping her as relaxed as he could.”

As for a return to the races, Bradley said he intends to work backward from a return engagement in the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, a race Groupie Doll won by 4 1/2 lengths last year as the 7-10 favorite. Her two preps will come in the Sept. 9 Presque Isle Downs Masters and the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes in early October at Keeneland, he said.

“It’s possible we could run her once before the Masters, but I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll breeze her a half-mile next weekend and keep going from there. Let’s see how she keeps coming around. It’s actually probably not going to take as much to get her ready as I thought it would. She’s really come back to herself.”

Dullahan making progress

Dullahan had his third workout since returning from Dubai when breezing five furlongs Saturday in 1:00.20 at Churchill under regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar.

Trainer Dale Romans has been keeping his plans for Dullahan under wraps but said he is pleased with how the 4-year-old colt is progressing.

“There are plenty of options out there, but I just want to get him closer to a race before I pick one out,” Romans said. “He’s doing really well. The clockers got him going out three-quarters in [1:12.60]. I’m happy.”

Dullahan, owned by Donegal Racing, won two Grade 1 races last year as a divisional Eclipse finalist. After running poorly in two starts in Dubai in March, he was given time off at WinStar Farm.

Asmussen ships to Spa on Monday

Quite a few horsemen will take another week or 10 days before shipping horses to Saratoga, but not Steve Asmussen.

“I’m sending most of them out Monday,” he said. “I like to get up there early and enjoy the lake and everything else before it gets too busy. The horses love it up there, too.”

Saratoga starts July 19. Among the dozen-plus Churchill trainers sending strings of varying size are Mike Maker, Wesley Ward, Al Stall Jr., Ken McPeek, Dale Romans, Eddie Kenneally, Dallas Stewart, D. Wayne Lukas, Rusty Arnold, and Ian Wilkes.

The Wilkes star, Fort Larned, is expected to ship with his stablemates on or about July 12, said assistant Bob Tucker.

Gabriel’s Cat drawing attention

Trainer Dan Sanner said he has been inundated with inquiries from prospective buyers about Gabriel’s Cat, a 3-year-old gelding who earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure in winning his career debut here June 9.

Gabriel’s Cat, a 3-year-old gelding by Quiet American, was 55-1 when rallying from last place in a field of 12 to win the one-mile turf race by an eye-catching 4 3/4 lengths. He is owned by Lucky 8 Stables LLC.

“He’s a really nice horse, and it’s going to take a lot more than we’ve been offered,” said Sanner, a close business associate of retired jockey Craig Perret. “His next race will be an allowance at Arlington Park.”