12/02/2005 12:00AM

Sugar Swirl can continue her ascent

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sugar Swirl, the only Bobby Frankel-trained runner left at Woodbine, should be tough to run down in Sunday's $162,150 Ontario Lassie Stakes for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.

Sugar Swirl, a Stronach Stable homebred by Touch Gold, graduated second time out in a seven-furlong maiden special weight event in September. She was subsequently favored in the $251,600 Princess Elizabeth, a prestigious stakes for Canadian-breds, and led throughout to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:50, receiving a Beyer Speed Figure of 70.

Assistant trainer Brian Lynch said Sugar Swirl has lived up to the promise she showed early in the year.

"We always had a little bit of hope for her," Lynch said. "She drew the rail in her first start, and we never pushed her too hard, but she closed very gamely for third. She won her second start very nicely, and we thought she'd stretch out a little farther, and it was good to see her get the two turns the way she did. It was a funny track that day - it was dead. The times weren't that good."

Lynch said Sugar Swirl worked to his satisfaction last Sunday, going six furlongs in 1:13.60 under former jockey Mickey Walls. He believes she is potentially a serious prospect for next year's Woodbine Oaks.

"That will be the game plan for her," Lynch said. "We'll get this race into her, and then

winter her down in Florida and possibly get one race into her at Gulfstream before bringing her back up."

La Gran Marylin is the other main contender in the six-horse field.

La Gran Marylin exits a come-from-behind

victory in the South Ocean Stakes for Ontario-sired fillies. She earned a 70 Beyer in that 1 1/16-mile race, prevailing by 3 1/2 lengths under jockey Slade Callaghan.

Trainer Hugo Taft said La Gran Marylin is a genuine router, who can quicken when asked.

"All along, she's shown that she wants to go longer," Taft said. "She has a good turn of foot, which she showed when she won the South Ocean. I was concerned when she was so far back early down on the rail. She had a lot to do, but when Slade asked her, she closed."

Despite being at the end of a busy season, Taft feels La Gran Marylin has another good race left in her.

"She's been campaigning a lot," Taft said.

"I was concerned that maybe she had enough this year, but she came out of her last race good."