Both of Caramel Swirl’s graded wins have come over sprint distances, which may seem a little surprising given that her sire is 2012 Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) winner Union Rags. But appearances can be deceiving. Union Rags was quick enough to win the 6½ furlong Saratoga Special (USA-G2) by 7½ lengths as a 2-year-old, with future champion sprinter Trinniberg in the beaten field, and the speed he displayed that day has apparently been reinforced by a female family with a record showing some speed of its own.
Caramel Swirl is a fifth-generation descendant of the Prince John mare Carnival Princess, who as a half sister to 1975 Oaks d’Italia (ITY-G1) winner Canauba (by Noholme II) could reasonably have been expected to throw stamina. Instead, Carnival Princess produced her best runner in 1988 Prix de la Forêt (FR-G1) winner Salse (by Topsider), who scored his signature win over 1400 meters (about 7 furlongs). Carnival Princess’s daughter Dear Mimi (by Roberto) likewise imparted more speed than might have been expected to her daughter Fleet Lady (by the Seattle Slew horse Avenue of Flags), who stayed well enough to win the La Canada Stakes (USA-G2) over 9 furlongs but had seven wins and three placings from 13 starts over sprint distances—hardly the record of a plodder.
Fleet Lady, in turn, continued the family tradition of producing miler speed, producing 2008 American champion 2-year-old male Midshipman (by Unbridled’s Song), the sprint stakes winner Regia Marina (by Medaglia d’Oro), and Fast Cookie (by Deputy Minister). The last-named mare won the 2003 Cotillion Handicap (USA-G2) over 8½ furlongs and, like Fleet Lady, raced well over sprint distances. Another daughter of Fleet Lady, Fleeting Touch (by Touch Gold), is the dam of 2011 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (AUS-G2, 1400 meters) winner Running Tall (by Stratum), and a third daughter of Fleet Lady, Abtasaamah (by Distorted Humor), is the dam of 2018 Jimmy Durante Stakes (USA-G3) winner Elsa (by Animal Kingdom), who scored her graded win at a mile.
Fast Cookie carried on the family tradition by producing multiple Grade 1 winner Frosted, a horse that could carry his speed classic distances but gave the most impressive performance of his career in the 2016 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap (USA-G1) at a flat mile. Fast Cookie is also the dam of Indulgent (by Bernardini), winner of the one-mile Go for Wand Handicap (USA-G3) in 2017, and of Caramel Snap (by Smart Strike), who produced Caramel Swirl as her third foal. Caramel Snap has two other winners from five starters and has most recently produced the unraced 2021 Street Sense colt Decatur Street and a 2022 full brother to Caramel Swirl.
While no immediate target has been reported for Caramel Swirl for her next outing, she will likely continue to race in the female sprint division, perhaps attempting to stretch her speed to a mile at some point. In the meantime, her connections can savor the sweet taste of victory, as well as the equally sweet prospect of having a fine broodmare when Caramel Swirl’s time comes to retire to the paddocks.