Confidently ridden by Javier Castellano, the Stronach Stables' homebred stalked the leaders before launching a four-wide bid on the turn of the six-furlong test for older fillies and mares. She collared pacesetter Rgirldoesn'tbluff approaching the furlong pole and won as much the best at odds of 11-10. The final time on a sealed, sloppy track was 1:10.06. Gulfstream Park was hit by a hard rainstorm a couple of races prior to the First Lady.
Sugar Swirl, off since registering a three-length win in Churchill Downs' Very Subtle Stakes Nov. 4, was previously in Bobby Frankel's barn and made her first start this winter for Lynch in the First Lady.
“I had her as a 2-year-old in Canada when I was an assistant to Bobby when she broke her maiden and won the Princess Elisabeth Stakes," Lynch noted. "It’s been so nice to have her back. We have tried to teach her to settle some early in her races, and I think that helped her today with all the speed in there."
The 5-year-old Touch Gold mare carried top weight of 119 pounds against six rivals and improved her career mark to 7-3-4 in 17 starts. The chestnut boosted her earnings to $531,124. Sugar Swirl, an Ontario bred, is out of Astrapi, by Distinctive Pro.
Rgirldoesn'tbluff, ridden by Jose Lezcano, was quick early, marking splits of :21 3/5 and :44 2/5 while enjoying a two-length lead after the opening half-mile. Leading well into the stretch run, she failed to stay with Sugar Swirl in the final eighth of mile while holding second by eight lengths over Bereba, with Eibar Coa aboard.
“It felt great to win a race for Mr. Stronach at his track," said Castellano, who rode Sugar Swirl for Frankel in 2006. "She sat right off the other horses , but I could have done whatever I wanted with her, rate or go with the other horses. I wasn’t nervous when (Rgirldoesn’tbluff) went to the lead early. I rode her with patience and a lot of confidence. I waited until the last minute, and she had a big kick coming for home.”
In a strung out finish, it was 6 1/4 lengths farther back to fourth-place finisher Quality Affair, followed by Marina Ballerina, Running Lass, and Princess Janie.
The winner paid $4.20, $2.80, and $2.10. Rgirldoesn'tbluff, forced to go from the rail for trainer Kirk Ziadie in her graded debut, returned $3.80 and $3.20. Bereba was $4.80 to show.
Miss Tizzy scratched.