07/07/2007 12:00AM

Frankel entry figures tough in First Flight

Reed Palmer Photography
Ginger Punch, coupled with Sugar Swirl, will be the 117-pound topweight.

ELMONT, N.Y. - On their own, Sugar Swirl or Ginger Punch would stand a good chance of capturing Sunday's $150,000 First Flight Handicap. Together, they make a near-unbeatable team in the Grade 2 stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

The Frank Stronach-owned, Bobby Frankel-trained entry figures to go off a short-priced favorite in the First Flight, a seven-furlong race that was originally scheduled for October but moved to Sunday after the Breeders' Cup announced the creation of the new $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, to be run this fall.

Sugar Swirl, a daughter of Touch Gold, looks like the main speed in the First Flight. In the June 15 Alyssum Stakes, Sugar Swirl dueled early with favorite Yachats, put that one away after running a half-mile in 44.83 seconds, and then held off a late charge from Veneti to win by a neck.

According to assistant trainer Scott Hansen, Frankel was pointing Sugar Swirl to an overnight stakes at Saratoga early in the meet. But when informed about the lack of speed in the First Flight, Frankel decided to enter Sugar Swirl and take a look at the field.

"She is very fast and she is training very well," Hansen said.

Garrett Gomez is named to ride Sugar Swirl from post 4.

Ginger Punch, a daughter of Awesome Again, is coming off a neck loss to Take D' Tour in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 16. Under David Flores, Ginger Punch was well off the pace before coming with a late run that fell just short.

"I thought David might have given her a little too much to do the other day," Hansen said.

Rafael Bejarano will ride Ginger Punch on Sunday. "Bejarano rides her really well," Hansen said.

Bejarano, who begins his summer stint in New York on Sunday, has ridden Ginger Punch to all three of her wins. Ginger Punch, the 117-pound highweight, breaks from post 5.

Sweet Fervor, trained by Bill Mott, overcame a wide trip to win the West Long Branch Stakes going six furlongs at Monmouth Park by a head on June 10. Earlier in the year, she won the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap going seven furlongs at Gulfstream, which may have been her career-best effort.

Swap Fliparoo, last year's Test winner, is 0 for 10 at Belmont Park, but has finished second five times. Silmaril is a 14-time winner who finished fourth in the Shuvee in her last trip to New York.