04/30/2008 11:00PM

Sugar Swirl brings four-race winning streak


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sugar Swirl took no prisoners this winter in Florida, dominating her division by cruising to easy victories in three graded sprint stakes within an 11-week span at Gulfstream Park. Now Sugar Swirl has returned to Kentucky, where she will attempt to continue her mastery while facing her most formidable test yet in the Grade 1, $300,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Sugar Swirl launched her current four-race win streak last November with a victory in Churchill Downs's Very Subtle Stakes. She began her big winter by capturing the Grade 3 First Lady and Hurricane Bertie handicaps before capping off her outstanding south Florida campaign with a similarly lopsided 5 1/2-length triumph in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Handicap. Sugar Swirl, a homebred daughter of Touch Gold owned by Frank Stronach, used the same modus operandi to win all three races, rating off the pace before exploding past the leaders in early stretch.

Both the Hurricane Bertie and Shirley Jones were decided at the same seven-furlong distance as the Humana Distaff.

"Winning form is the best form," said trainer Brian Lynch. "She looks like new money galloping over this racetrack, and there appears to be enough genuine speed in the race on Saturday to assure a fast three-quarters pace. She should be able to get good position right behind the leaders just like she did in Florida. She hasn't had a hiccup since her last start, and when you've got a filly that can run like she can it's hard not to be a little confident."

Sugar Swirl will certainly be meeting the stiffest competition she has seen to date. Among her opposition are the defending Humana Distaff winner, Hystericalady; Grade 1 winner Intangaroo; and Miraculous Miss and Miss Macy Sue, the second and third finishers in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Hystericalady rallied to an easy four-length victory in the 2007 Humana Distaff but has been most effective around two turns since that win. Trained by Jerry Holldendorfer, Hystericalady capped off her outstanding 4-year-old campaign by finishing second, beaten a neck by Ginger Punch, in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. She turns back to seven furlongs again Saturday off a 3 1/2-length triumph going 1 1/16 miles in Oaklawn Park's Grade 3 Azeri Stakes.

Intangaroo became a Grade 1 winner when she upset Hystericalady in Santa Anita's seven-furlong Santa Monica Handicap on Feb. 2. The Humana Distaff will be her first start on dirt.

Miraculous Miss finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Miss Macy Sue in the Breeders' Cup. A stretch-running mare, she has not started since her third-place finish against males in the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel on Nov. 24.