Sugar Swirl Scores in Ballerina Tune-Up

Sugar Swirl Scores in Ballerina Tune-Up
Photo: Michael Burns
Sugar Swirl takes command in the Scotzanna Stakes at Woodbine.
Three-time graded stakes winner Sugar Swirl tuned up nicely for a start in Saratoga's Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) next month by winning the inaugural Scotzanna Stakes at Woodbine July 18.

The 5-year-old Stronach Stables' homebred mare was sent off the 1-2 favorite over five rivals in the six-furlong event with total purse money of $99,717. With Jono Jones riding her for the first time, Sugar Swirl stalked the pace from third into the stretch, took the lead from Executive Flight early in the stretch, and scored by one length over the closing Lucas Street in a time of 1:09.79 over the Toronto oval's Polytrack.

“We didn’t want too hard a race into her with the big race coming up in a month," trainer Brian Lynch said in reference to the Aug. 24 Ballerina.

The Ontario-bred Sugar Swirl, a daughter of Touch Gold  --Astrapi, by Distinctive Pro, ran for the first time at Woodbine since finishing fourth in the 2006 Jammed Lovely Stakes. She began her career there and has three wins in six tries.

Sugar Swirl was coming off a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs 2 1/2 months ago. Prior to that she recorded unprecedented sweep of Gulfstream Park's sprint series for fillies and mares, winning in succession the First Lady (gr. III), Hurricane Bertie (gr. III), and Shirley Jones (gr. II) Handicaps.

The chestnut has won 10 of 21 lifetime starts with 17 in-the-money performances and earnings of $750,458.

“She’s been a lot of fun,” said Lynch. “She is the best mare I’ve ever trained."

Sugar Swirl’s connections are also considering running her in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Oct. 24.

In the Scotzanna, pacesetters Shot Gun Ela and Executive Flight flew through an opening quarter-mile in :22.79 and a half in :45.32 with Sugar Swirl sitting about a length off of them while racing three wide. Around the turn, Jones geared up the mare to get the lead. Ahead by a half-length at the furlong pole, she won driving as Lucas Street came on.

“If (Lucas Street) had come any closer to her, she probably would have set another gear down,” said Jones. “She’s just a classy filly.”

Sugar Swirl paid $3, $2.20, $2.10, combining with Lucas Street ($3.80, $2.50) and Patrick Husbands for an $8.90 exacta. Executive Flight ($2.60), ridden by Chantal Sutherland, rounded out a $29.30 trifecta.

(Chart, Equibase)

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