Spirit Wind Captures Sugar Swirl in Return
Sunday, December 24, 2023
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Off since May, Jacks or Better Farm’s Spirit Wind came back running in Saturday’s $125,000, Gr. III Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park, earning graded-stakes credentials with a front-running victory.

    The 41st running of the Sugar Swirl, a six-furlong test for fillies and mares, and the $125,000, Gr. III Mr. Prospector, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up, co-headlined Saturday’s program, supported by the $125,000 Tropical Park Oaks and the $125,000 Tropical Park Derby.

    Spirit Wind, who had demonstrated dazzling speed while winning four of her previous seven starts, ran to form Saturday, jumping to a clear early lead and setting fractions of :22.23 and :45.30 seconds under Jose Ortiz while well clear of the field for the first half-mile. The Carlos David-trained 4-year-old daughter of Bahamian Squall began to shorten stride in mid-stretch but held on gamely to finish a half-length ahead of runner-up Intrepid Daydream.

    “Carlos told me the works she’s had here were very good work. Obviously has back class and she obviously has speed,” Ortiz said. “She gave me a good jump out of the gate. She broke very clean. She relaxed very good.”

    Spirit Wind ($8.40) ran six furlongs in 1:10.58 to deny the late stretch-bid by Intrepid Daydream, who finished a neck ahead of third-place finisher Olivia Darling.

    The Jacks or Better homebred was a multiple stakes-winner who finished second behind Ce Ce in the Gr. II Princess Rooney during her 3-year-old season. She won an allowance in her 2023 debut at Gulfstream last March and finished fourth in the May 29, Gr. III Winning Colors at Churchill Downs before going to the sidelines.

    Spirit Wind was transferred to David’s Palm Meadows-based stable approximately a month again and entered the Sugar Swirl off one workout.

    “I wanted to give her one more work, but we had the bad weather,” David said. “I told Jose, ‘She might need the race. There’s a lot of speed. Just break good. If some of the others go to the lead, just sit.’ She grabbed the lead and as soon as she got the lead, she relaxed a little bit.”

    David said he’d look for another graded-stakes opportunity for Spirit Wind during the Championship Meet.
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