(Rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. filed an objection, but the Stewards disallowed)

From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:

Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing’s Lady’s Island survived an inquiry to successful defend her title in the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The Sugar Swirl, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, was one of five stakes on Saturday’s program, including the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2), a key prep for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Jan. 23.

Lady’s Island’s front-running score came a day after owner Rich Averill and his partners retired their 10-year-old turf sprint star Pay Any Price following a second-place finish in Friday’s last race at Gulfstream.

The 6-year-old daughter of Greatness ($11) broke alertly under Emisael Jaramillo to show the way along the backstretch on her way to setting fractions of 22.12 and 44.54 seconds for a half mile. She continued to show the way into the stretch and maintained her lead while steadily drifting out. The Florida-bred mare shortened stride late but was able to hold off a late-running Bronx Beauty by a head. Cinnabunny, the even-money favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., closed steadily in the stretch while racing in tight quarters to finish third, three-quarters of a length back. Lady’s Island ran six furlongs in 1:10.46.

Ortiz filed an objection, but after a lengthy review, the stewards made no change in the order of finish.

The successful title defense was the 17 victory in 34 career starts for Lady’s Island, who scored a front-running 9 ¾-length victory in last season’s Sugar Swirl.


Owner Rich Averill: “We don’t know what the future holds for her, This could be one of her last races.”

Trainer Georgina Baxter: “I have had a couple of emotional days. I am so pleased she was able to defend her crown. They writer her off, but to me, where she’s right, she’s one of the quickest fillies in America.”