01/17/2013 4:03PM

Gulfstream Park notes: Groupie Doll back on the track

Barbara D. Livingston
Groupie Doll shipped in to trainer Buff Bradley’s barn at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 29 from the family farm in Kentucky.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Groupie Doll, the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and the odds-on favorite to walk away with an Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter here Saturday night, went to the track Wednesday for the first time since arriving more than two weeks ago.

Groupie Doll shipped in to trainer Buff Bradley’s barn at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 29 from the family farm in Kentucky but spiked a temperature within 24 hours of her arrival. Bradley did some blood work on his filly, which revealed she was dealing with some type of infection, delaying her return to the track.

“She started going back to the track yesterday,” Bradley said Thursday morning. “It will probably be another month or so before we breeze her, but we’re still looking at running her in the Inside Information as originally planned. I was getting her back a little early anyhow, so missing a couple of weeks won’t change our plans. She was eating good and she looked good, but the blood just wasn’t right after she arrived and there wasn’t any use in risking anything by sending her back to the track too soon.”

Groupie Doll finished third behind reigning female sprint champ Musical Romance in the 2012 Inside Information before embarking on a five-race winning streak that included a 4 1/2-length victory in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint. Her streak ended three weeks later when she was beaten a nose by Stay Thirsty following a thrilling stretch-long duel in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

Velazquez to ride Take Charge Indy

Trainer Pat Byrne reports that John Velazquez will be aboard Take Charge Indy when the 2012 Florida Derby winner makes his 4-year-old debut Feb. 9 in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Take Charge Indy was ridden in all five of his races at 3, including the Kentucky Derby, by Calvin Borel. He has not started since finishing second, beaten a length by Shackleford, in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on Nov. 23.

Byrne said Velazquez will be at Palm Meadows to work Take Charge Indy on Tuesday morning.

Swagger Jack scores again

Swagger Jack posted his second impressive win in less than three weeks when he defeated Grade 2 winner Easter Gift in Thursday’s $60,500 main event going a mile over a sealed and wet-fast main track. Swagger Jack, a 5-year-old son of Smart Strike owned by Silverton Hill, had earned a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure rallying to a 2 1/4-length optional claiming win in his previous start.

“Taking the blinkers off made the difference, because he was so rank,” said trainer Marty Wolfson, who removed the blinkers from Swagger Jack after his fourth-place finish as the 4-5 favorite at Calder on Nov. 11.

Wolfson ruled out the Donn as a possible option for Swagger Jack’s next start.

“I doubt we’ll go to the Donn. I don’t think he’s ready for that yet. He’s coming along so well we’ll try to be conservative with him for now,” Wolfson said.

Palace Malice returns in allowance

Palace Malice, an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga who was under consideration for last summer’s Hopeful Stakes before going to the sidelines, returns for his first start of the year in Saturday’s first race, a seven-furlong allowance for 3-year-olds, but trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping to aim higher soon thereafter.

“This is a good starting point, a good distance to start back at, but with a pedigree like his, he should be better going two turns down the road,” Pletcher said Thursday.

Palace Malice, a colt by Curlin out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Runner, was purchased as a 2-year-old in training for $200,000 by Dogwood Stable. He was second in his debut at Belmont Park in July before a runaway victory against maidens Aug. 4.

“He had a shin, so we stopped on him and gave him some time off,” Pletcher said. “It popped up right before we were going to run him in the Hopeful. He’s training well. He’s always trained well. We’re looking forward to his return.”

◗ Jockey Kent Desormeaux registered his first win of the meet when guiding Don’t Peach to a wire-to-wire victory in Thursday’s first race for trainer Finley Bishop.

◗ Joselyn Rivera, daughter of jockey Jose Rivera II, will sing the national anthem before Saturday’s Sunshine Millions Day program. Rivera was among the 20 finalists selected for the most recent competition on the popular television show “The Voice.”

– additional reporting by Jay Privman