08/25/2007 12:00AM

Cuaba seeks to build on form


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Cuaba and Sugar Swirl enter the $80,000 Classy Mirage Stakes off career-best performances and trainers Bill Mott and Bobby Frankel are hoping their improving fillies can either repeat or move forward off those efforts in Monday's 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes. The Classy Mirage is one of three overnight stakes to be decided on the 10-race program.

Cuaba rallied to a two-length victory over Fast Deal under third-level optional claiming conditions here Aug. 1, earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. The win was the third in seven starts this season for the son of Smoke Glacken whose only two poor efforts since Feb. 2 came over the turf at Keeneland and the artificial surface at Arlington Park.

"If she can fire that last race right back, she should have a big chance," Mott said. "She's already shown a touch of class finishing second in a graded stakes in Kentucky, and if there's some pace in this race, it will obviously be to our benefit."

Kent Desormeaux, who rode Cuaba for the first time in her last start, will again take the call.

Sugar Swirl was on the pace from start to finish before clinging to a game neck decision over Veneti in a restricted stakes at Belmont on June 15. A daughter of Touch Gold, Sugar Swirl has trained extremely well ever since that outing, posting several fast works, including a bullet half-mile in 46.80 seconds here Aug. 12.

"She likes to go fast in the morning," Frankel said. "I don't know if that's good or bad. I was hoping to run her earlier in the meet, but she injured a frog. She's doing well now and if she can run back to her last, she'll be tough. There's a lot of speed in this field, but I'm not sure it's 44 and change speed like she's got."

Fast Deal earned her career-high Beyer, a 93, when second best behind Cuaba after setting a contested pace in the pair's previous meeting. Fast Deal has finished second in 4 of her 5 starts, but remains winless in 2007.

More Angel steps up in class after registering a gate-to-wire, second-level optional claiming win last month, getting a career topping 90 Beyer for the effort.

Rich Fantasy returns to the main track for the first time in 13 months after being graded stakes placed twice this season on grass.