02/18/2008 1:00AM

Sugar Swirl dominates Hurricane Bertie


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sugar Swirl left little doubt she's the queen of the local filly and mare sprint division after cruising to an 8 3/4-length victory over Change Up and four other overmatched rivals in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Sugar Swirl ($3.40) stalked the early pace of Cher Ami under jockey Javier Castellano, readily assumed command midway on the turn while still in hand, then drew off through the stretch under steady encouragement. Change Up was easily second best, finishing three lengths clear of Silver Knockers. Lady Marlboro and Bereba were scratched earlier in the day.

Sugar Swirl, a 5-year-old daughter of Touch Gold owned by her breeder Frank Stronach, added the 61/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie to her easy win in the Grade 3 First Lady Handicap on Jan. 13.

"She's been settling lovely in her races and kicking in when she needs it," said trainer Bryan Lynch. "If she keeps winning like this I guess we'll keep her in training."

Sugar Swirl can complete a sweep of the three graded filly and mare sprint stakes at this meet if she runs in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones at seven furlongs on March 22.