01/11/2008 1:00AM

Sharp workers top field full of speed


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sugar Swirl and Rgirldoesn'tbluff have been burning up the training track in the morning. Their connections are confident they will continue to do likewise when it really counts, in the afternoon, when they square off as the two likely favorites in Sunday's $100,000 First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Sugar Swirl, the 119-pound highweight for the Grade 3 First Lady, has posted four consecutive bullet works at the Palm Meadows training center since trainer Bobby Frankel shipped her to his colleague Brian Lynch late this past fall. A 5-year-old daughter of Touch Gold, Sugar Swirl has not started since winning Churchill Downs's Very Subtle Stakes by three lengths on Nov. 4.

"Her last few works have been fantastic," said Lynch. "And when Bobby gives one to you and says they are good to go, you're usually going to have some fun with them."

Lynch's two main concerns for the six-furlong First Lady Handicap are the track condition and pace scenario. Sugar Swirl does her best running on or near the lead, and there is a ton of early speed signed on for the race.

"The outcome could be governed by how the track is playing Sunday," said Lynch. "Hopefully we'll be able to sit off all the speed in there."

Jockey Javier Castellano will team up with Sugar Swirl in the First Lady for the first time since guiding her to an allowance win here last winter.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff is coming off a trio of black-letter works at Calder, including a sensational half-mile drill in 45.60 on Tuesday. Trainer Kirk Ziadie said the mare couldn't be doing better and makes no bones about his strategy, especially after Rgirldoesn'tbluff drew the rail.

"She's one-dimensional and the type of horse who has to go to the lead," said Ziadie. "And anybody who tries to go with her early will have nothing left at the end."

Another speedball in the lineup is Marina Ballerina, a stakes winner this summer on grass at Monmouth Park, who exits a wire-to-wire, 5 1/2-length allowance win at Calder. Her trainer, Steve Margolis, acknowledged that his filly and Rgirldoesn'tbluff have similar styles, and he was hoping to avoid that confrontation if he could.

Princess Janie may have the best late kick in the field. A lightly raced daughter of Elusive Quality, she rallied from a couple of lengths off the pace to a 6 3/4-length victory over 3-year-olds in the six-furlong Mongo Queen Stakes last summer at Monmouth.