Swept Overboard Upsets Kona Gold; Now Breeders' Cup Bound

From Santa Anita
Swept Overboard earned a ticket to the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, rallying from last to outrun defending Sprint champion Kona Gold and capture the $207,100 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Saturday.

Swept Overboard, a $700,000 purchase at the 505 Dispersal Sale in July 2000, was still last with a quarter mile to run in the six-furlong race, but was picking up his five rivals with every stride. Kona Gold, the 3-5 favorite carrying an Ancient Title record high weight of 127 pounds, moved from fourth to the lead under Alex Solis as the field turned for home, but Swept Overboard, ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, had dead aim while rallying four wide.

Kona Gold fought back gamely but could not withstand the rush of Swept Overboard, a gray 4-year-old Florida-bred son of End Sweep who was in receipt of 11 pounds from Kona Gold.

Swept Overboard covered the distance on a fast track in 1:07.67, just two-fifths off Sunny Blossom's track record of set on Dec. 30, 1989. The clocking broke the stakes record of 1:07.84 set by Lexicon in 1999. Owned by J. Paul Reddam of Irvine, California, and trained by Craig Dollase, Swept Overboard paid $9.20 as the second choice. He earned $124,260 for his sixth victory from 13 career starts. His total earnings stand at $466,442.

"He needed to run a big race, or be right there to earn a trip to the Breeders' Cup," said the 30-year-old Dollase, who became the youngest trainer to saddle a Breeders' Cup winner when Reraise captured the 1998 Sprint. "I think this (result) stamped him pretty well today. He deserves to be in a race like the Breeders' Cup."

Kona Gold, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and Eclipse Award champion as best sprinter, was the beaten favorite in the Ancient Title for the third time. He finished fifth at 13-10 in 1998 and second at 4-5 in 1999. This was his fourth consecutive appearance in the Ancient Title, which he won last year.

"Swept Overboard ran a great race," said Kona Gold's trainer, Bruce Headley. "But weight can stop a freight train. That's what the handicapper's job does, is equal things out. He had to struggle from start to finish. Down the backside, he was trying to get the weight going. It's hard to do, that's a lot of weight. If you've ever lifted weights, you can lift 150 pounds, but put five pounds more on and you can't budge it."

Freespool set the pace as expected in the Ancient Title, which was elevated to Grade I status this year, in its 17th running. Under Isaias Enriquez and 117 pounds, Freespool reeled off fractions of :21.26, :43.45 and :55.75 before fading to fifth place.

I Love Silver, Forest Camp, Freespool and Lexicon completed the order of finish behind the top pair.

The Ancient Title has been a successful prep to the Breeders' Cup since its inaugural run in 1985. Cardmania (1993), Elmhurst (1997) and Kona Gold last year all won the Ancient Title prior to capturing the Sprint.

Delahoussaye, who was winning a record fourth Ancient Title, captured two other races on the 10-race program, the seventh on Black Mercury and the ninth aboard The Price Spirit. All three horses came from last to win.