01/13/2011 5:08PM

Jessica Is Back eyes more black type in Sugar Swirl Stakes


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Jessica Is Back is already booked for the breeding shed this spring. But before she embarks on her next career, the Grade 1 winner will try to add a little more black type to the current one when launching her 2011 campaign in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park.

Jessica Is Back became a Grade 1 winner last summer when rallying to win the Princess Rooney over her home track at Calder. Among her victims that day was Dubai Majesty, who ultimately went on to upset the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and is the favorite to win the Eclipse Award as the 2010’s top female sprinter.

Jessica Is Back closed her 2010 campaign finishing ninth in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, after which she went through the Fasig-Tipton November sale, where she failed to meet her $500,000 reserve. She was subsequently purchased privately by her present owner, Carolyn Vogel, for an undisclosed price.

“She’ll run a few times this winter and then leave at the end of March to be bred,” said Marty Wolfson, who trained Jessica Is Back prior to the sale and got her back from Vogel following the purchase. “She never missed any time training because of the sale and she’s doing well.”

Jessica Is Back ran one of the best races of her career here last winter when posting a nine-length victory going a mile in the restricted Ocala Stakes.

“The Breeders’ Cup was disappointing, because she’d already proven she could beat Dubai Majesty, but she never got the chance that day because of the trip,” Wolfson said. “She really likes this track, and while I wish this race was at a mile, I think there’s enough speed in the field to set her up. I expect her to run well.”

The speed of the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl could be provided by Jessica Is Back’s two chief rivals, Tar Heel Mom and Hilda’s Passion.

Tar Heel Mom finished third, beaten a head, after drawing clear in early stretch of the 2010 Sugar Swirl. It was the first of three game but frustrating efforts by Tar Heel Mom here last winter that also included a narrow defeat in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie and a second-place finish behind Warbling in the Grade 2 Inside Information.

Tar Heel Mom registered her most important victory when leading throughout to win Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Distaff Handicap last spring for trainer Stanley Hough.

Hilda’s Passion has won three of her last four starts, the last two since being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn during the summer of her 3-year-old season. Three of her four career victories have come over synthetic tracks, including the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland in her 2010 finale.

Moontune Missy, like Jessica Is Back, ran in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing a well-beaten 12th after taking up into the far turn. The Grade 2-placed mare will make her first start for trainer Todd Quast in the Sugar Swirl.

The remainder of the field includes D’wild Ride, Landing My Way, Noisy Feet, Ms Vanenzza, Bronx City Girl, and J Z Warrior.