Hollywood Park Report (Cont.)

"So I'm the Turf Express guy, and Dad's the Citation guy," trainer Craig Dollase summed up as the evening of Nov. 24 wound down.

No argument there. A quick check of Turf Festivals past shows the elder Dollase has accounted for three Citations in the last eight years (he won with former claimer Southern Wish in 1994 and also in '98 with Military). By the same token, his son seems to have a firm grip on the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express (gr. IIIT).

For the second straight year, the 5 1/2 -furlong Turf Express went Craig Dollase's way. He just had to endure a few seconds of heart-stopping. But it's something he's going to have to face each time he sends the daring Swept Overboard into battle.

When Dollase bought the gray son of End Sweep on behalf of owner John Paul Reddam a summer ago, he got his hands on a capable sprinter whose best days were definitely ahead of him. Through deft handling, Swept Overboard has developed into a colt whose flair for last-second heroics could make even Dirty Harry sweat.

For those in a delicate state of health, try bungee jumping. It may be easier to handle than watching Swept Overboard at work. Fortunately, when the going gets tough, he's got the right guy in the saddle.

"Eddie fits him perfect," Dollase said. "He's the typical Delahoussaye ride."

Of the 6,200-plus lifetime wins compiled by Eddie Delahoussaye, the ones that remain etched in the minds of fans far and wide are the late scrambles, the perfectly executed last-to-first charges that are so polished, so perfect...and so easy. According to the maestro himself, nothing could be further from the truth.

"It's harder because you have to have the timing. Everything has to break right, the horse has to respond right, has to be kind to you on the backside and wait," the Hall of Famer said, adding that Swept Overboard packs a pretty mean punch. "Oh, he's a racehorse. When I call on him, he'll give it to me. Whether my timing is gonna be right or wrong, I don't know."

In the Turf Express, Delahoussaye--as usual--was right on cue. But with just three furlongs to run, it was hard to muster any optimism. Swept Overboard was more than 13 lengths off the leaders, bobbling along in ninth with just a single horse beaten. Up ahead, however, longshot Rocky Bar had shot through splits of :21.65 and :43.90, clearing the path for Swept Overboard's patented charge.

It was the same burst that carried Swept Overboard past Kona Gold and others in last month's Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I). This time, though, he didn't blow by them all. Instead, Speak in Passing, a Danzig colt from the Frankel stable, kicked on when Swept Overboard appeared at the sixteenth pole. They hit the wire as one, with Swept Overboard prevailing by a nose in 1:01.86. Another Frankel trainee, Blu Air Force, took third.

"You just gotta ride a horse like him with confidence," Delahoussaye said the next day. "When you can get a horse that can go the last quarter in :22 and change, :23, you're gonna win a lot of races. And that's what this horse does."

Dollase indicated Swept Overboard has now earned a rest. Look for him to resurface next spring.

At the Wire

The Nov. 24 downpour robbed the Citation of five entrants, most notably Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) hero Val Royal. Trainer Julio Canani said the son of Royal Academy is still on target for the Dec. 16 Hong Kong Mile (HK-I)...Two-year-old fillies got their chance to shine Nov. 23 in the $200,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT). Forty On Line, a British-bred daughter of the Lyphard stallion Pharly, led all the way to beat Riskaverse by a length in 1:36.38. Bob Hess Jr. trains the filly for a partnership...Mountain Rage unleashed a determined stretch drive to nail favored Miesque's Approval in the final soggy strides of the $200,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The son of Mecke got up by a head, covering a mile on "good" turf in 1:40.31. He is owned by Jill Moss and George Jacobs...After a somewhat quiet meet at Oak Tree, Bob Baffert's runners have finally caught a spark. Aside from sending out Mountain Rage, the barn also picked up a pair of Cal-bred stakes during the week. On Thanksgiving Day, Jack and Florence Arnold's Stormy Jack proved he's not a one-track horse after a narrow escape in the On Trust Handicap at 7 1/2 furlongs. A five-time winner at Del Mar, the 4-year-old homebred Bertrando colt won by a head over Waingarth. Favored Ceeband was another head back in third. A day later, Favorite Funtime held off Feverish and Queenie Belle to take the 7 1/2-furlong Cat's Cradle Handicap. Bred and owned by John and Betty Mabee, the 4-year-old filly is a daughter of Seeking the Gold... Bobby Frankel's boys came up just short in the Turf Express, but Rolly Polly and Twin Set came through with a one-two combo in the 5 1/2 -furlong Safely Kept Handicap for fillies and mares...A nagging tendon has finally ended the career of Early Pioneer. "He's one of the smartest horses I've ever been around. He can look at you, and you know what he's thinking," trainer Vladimir Cerin once said. "He's just an amazing, amazing horse." Claimed for $62,500 by Cerin and owners David and Holly Wilson, Early Pioneer was typecast as a sprinter until Cerin gave him a shot at two turns. For Early Pioneer, it made all the difference, and he was never finer than in the 2000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), his $51 magnum opus over a field featuring grade I winners General Challenge, Cat Thief, Chester House, and Pleasant Breeze. The Rahy gelding also took the grade II San Bernardino Handicap--at $55.80, no less--that spring. The millionaire was recently retired to the Wilsons' farm near Phoenix, Ariz.