12/22/2012 2:42PM

Gulfstream Park: Groupie Doll will soon head to Florida to prepare for 2013

Barbara D. Livingston
Groupie Doll will train at Gulfstream Park for her tentative 2013 debut in the Inside Information on March 17.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.– Santa Claus is coming to town on Tuesday. Groupie Doll, who may be as popular among racing fans these days as Jolly Saint Nick, will get here five days later.

Trainer Buff Bradley said Groupie Doll, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and overwhelming favorite to be named the filly and mare sprint champion for 2012, is scheduled to leave his farm in Frankfurt, Ky., on Saturday, Dec.  29 and will arrive at Gulfstream Park the following day. She will return to training the following week in preparation for her 2013 debut, which is tentatively slated to come in the Inside Information here at Gulffstream Park on March 17.

“She’s been turned out on the farm with Brass Hat,” said Bradley, referring to the winner of the 2006 Donn Handicap he trained for his father, Fred Bradley. “My wife sends me pictures of them every day and from what I can see she looks great. The last picture showed the two of them out in the snow with a caption that said ‘Come get me.’ The weather has been good in Kentucky but now that it’s getting colder up there, she’s probably ready to come back.”

Following a third-place finish behind 2011 filly and mare sprint champ Musical Romance in the 2012 Inside Information, Groupie Doll won five races in a row, including the Breeders’ Cup. The improvement coincided with Bradley’s decision to put blinkers on Groupie Doll after leaving south Florida during the spring. Groupie Doll ended the season with a nose setback at the hands of Stay Thirsty following a heart-pulsing stretch battle in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

“I don’t regret the decision to run her up there,” said Bradley. “We weren’t trying to prove anything by running her against males. She was feeling that good and I thought it was a good time to take her up there to show the people in New York what a great filly she was. A head bob the other way and we’d have been heroes. I still can’t believe the reception we got, even after they put the results of the photo up. As I was walking back to the barn, going through all those fans, people were shaking my hand and thanking me for having brought her to New York.”

Bradley said Groupie Doll would likely return to the track a couple of days after settling into her old stall at Gulfstream.

“We’ll probably go down pretty much the same road with her next year as we did this season following the Inside Information,” said Bradley. “The break after she won the race at Churchill Downs on Derby Day was planned, aside from the few extra weeks we missed because of her hock injury, and we’ll probably do that again next year too.”

Bradley said he’s also excited at the prospect of collecting an Eclipse Award when the 2012 champions are named in ceremonies at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19.

“She proved all year long what she needed to prove to win a championship,” said Bradley. “It’s been a very exciting year for me, my family, and my barn crew, and it’s going to be very special for us to accept the honor if she does become an Eclipse champion.”