01/14/2008 12:00AM

Fast pace, slop prove ideal for Sugar Swirl

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sugar Swirl took advantage of a fast pace and wet track to earn her first graded stakes victory, a 2 1/2-length decision over Rgirldoesn'tbluff in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Sugar Swirl, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Touch Gold owned by Frank Stronach, settled near the rear of the field but within easy striking distance of early leader Rgirldoesn'tbluff, who set fractions of 21.76 seconds and 44.54 over a track downgraded from fast to sloppy midway through the card. Sugar Swirl launched her bid while racing out in the better going away from the rail on the turn, readily ran down the leader in early stretch, and won going away. Rgirldoesn'tbluff was easily second best, finishing eight lengths in front of Bereba.

Sugar Swirl ($4.20), a homebred daughter of Touch Gold owned by Frank Stronach and ridden by Javier Castellano, covered six furlongs in 1:10.06 as the favorite in a field of seven fillies and mares. She was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano.

"I had her as a 2-year-old and broke her maiden when working as an assistant for Bobby Frankel," said Bryan Lynch, who is training Sugar Swirl in Florida this winter. "You're always a little concerned when it rains and the track comes up wet but I thought nobody handles the mud better than Touch Golds. And with so much speed in the field today it made it easier for her to settle back off the pace which is something we've been trying to get her to do lately."

Lynch said Sugar Swirl would likely make her next start in the seven-furlong, Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on Feb. 17.