02/03/2014 2:09PM

Gulfstream Park gives Groupie Doll's foes extra incentive

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Barbara D. Livingston
Groupie Doll is expected to make her final start in Sunday's Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – How much is having a two-time Eclipse Award champion running at your track worth these days?

Gulfstream Park management obviously believes the answer to that question is $50,000. That is the amount they will increase the purse, from $150,000 to $200,000, if two-time defending female sprint champ Groupie Doll runs, as expected, in Sunday’s Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

Groupie Doll has been pointing to the Hurricane Bertie for the last several weeks. She completed a sharp series of local works breezing an easy four furlongs in 48.27 here Sunday morning, with her new owner, Mandy Pope, in attendance.

Pope purchased Groupie Doll for $3.1 million shortly after she successfully defended her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Groupie Doll finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile to close out her 4-year-old campaign, after which Pope decided she wanted to run her one more time before sending her to the breeding shed later this season.

The purse increase may be a key selling point for the racing office, which is trying to induce suitable competition to face the champ in the Hurricane Bertie. As of Sunday, stakes coordinator Kevin Meyocks said he had only three others – Five Star Momma, Heart Stealer, and Jamaican Smoke – committed to the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie. Five Star Momma also is entered in Thursday’s $75,000 Awesome Feather overnight stakes, as are Hurricane Bertie nominees Munnings Sister, My Due Process, Angel’s Glory, Flower Spell, Risky Rachel, My Pal Chrisy, R Free Roll, Wildcat Lily, and Who Is Camille.