09/04/2013 2:57PM

Presque Isle: Masters champ Groupie Doll faces 10 challengers

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Tom Keyser
Groupie Doll, last year's champion female sprinter, will try to win the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters for a second time Monday.

Groupie Doll will face Judy the Beauty and nine other fillies and mares Monday evening when she defends her title in the seventh running of the Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters in Erie, Pa.

Groupie Doll, the 2012 filly and mare sprint champion, had her final tune-up for the Masters when she breezed a half-mile in 47.60 seconds Tuesday at her home track, Churchill Downs. Trainer Buff Bradley said he is looking for the 5-year-old Groupie Doll to improve off her third-place finish as the 1-5 favorite in the Aug. 10 Gardenia Stakes, a one-mile dirt race at Ellis Park. The Gardenia was her first race since last November.

“You’d have to think she needed the race,” said Bradley. “Obviously we’re looking for her to take it up a notch at Presque Isle.”
The Masters, which goes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the Tapeta synthetic, is carded as the sixth of eight Monday races. First post is 5:25 p.m. Eastern, with the feature set for 7:40.

Judy the Beauty was scratched from the Aug. 23 Ballerina at Saratoga when she acted up at the starting gate, but has had no ill effects from that incident, said trainer Wesley Ward. The 4-year-old Judy the Beauty has 4 wins and 6 seconds from 10 career starts. She drilled a bullet five furlongs Sunday in 59.20 seconds over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.

“We’re very excited about sending her up there and giving the champ a try,” said Ward. “She’s fine – actually, she’s great.”
Groupie Doll, with Rajiv Maragh to ride, was assigned post 10, while Judy the Beauty and jockey David Flores will break just to her inside from post 9.

Under allowance conditions, Groupie Doll will carry just 112 pounds, while the others carry anywhere from 110 to 118. Groupie Doll won the Presque Isle Downs Masters last year by 3 3/4 lengths amid a five-race win streak that culminated with a 4 1/2-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

From the rail, this is the Masters field: Toto Cor, Sounds of the City, Allwewantforxmas, Srikinglybeautiful, Mystic City, Purely Hot, Winning Image, Lotta Lovin, Judy the Beauty, Groupie Doll, and Queen’s Award.