07/15/2008 11:00PM

Sugar Swirl preps in Scotzanna


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's rare when the favorite in a stakes is as talented as the horse for which the race is named, but that will be the case Friday at Woodbine when Sugar Swirl competes in the first running of the $100,000 Scotzanna. The six-furlong dash for Ontario-bred fillies and mares is named for Canada's champion 3-year-old filly of 1995.

Sugar Swirl had a phenomenal campaign last winter on the dirt, sweeping all three graded stakes for female sprinters at the Gulfstream meeting.

Sugar Swirl took the six-furlong First Lady in the slop with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in January and won the seven-furlong Hurricane Bertie in a romp with a 100 Beyer in February. She defeated Baroness Thatcher and Shaggy Mane while capturing the seven-furlong Shirley Jones in March.

Last time out, May 3 in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill, Sugar Swirl faded to fifth after dueling up front through quick fractions under Javier Castellano. Trainer Brian Lynch said he was surprised to see Sugar Swirl on the early lead in the seven-furlong race.

"She got a little bit of a different ride," Lynch said. Castellano "took her a little off the pace in most of her races, but she got engaged in a four-way speed duel there. Once she sees daylight, she can be a bit tough. When you ride her right, she settles and gives you a nice strong last quarter. Hopefully, [Jono Jones] will get her settled in behind horses and let her do her thing."

Lynch said the Scotzanna is Sugar Swirl's prep for the Grade 1 Ballerina on Aug. 24 at Saratoga. He said the ultimate goal for the Stronach Stable homebred is the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.

"She's real good fresh," Lynch said. "She's spot-on."

Saskawea hasn't started since November, but she captured her 2007 opener following a long layoff in the Fury Stakes. Her victory in the Oct. 24 Ruling Angel Stakes came after a three-month absence.

London Snow rallied wide from far back to take the six-furlong Ballade Stakes for Ontario-sired stock in her last appearance.

Shot Gun Ela figures to set the pace. She led throughout most of the Grade 3 Whimsical Stakes on April 20, before ending up third behind My List and Bear Now.

Executive Flight came wide from mid-pack to win her last outing July 1, in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes.