05/28/2002 12:00AM

Met field gets swept


ELMONT, N.Y. - Getting to Belmont Park for Monday's Grade 1, $750,000 was the hardest part for Swept Overboard.

Once in New York, Swept Overboard made a mockery of a stellar Met Mile field, taking control leaving the five-sixteenths pole and drawing clear to a 4 3/4-length victory over Aldebaran before 20,548 at Belmont Park on Memorial Day. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Crafty C.T.

Local starters Affirmed Success and Left Bank, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth and fifth.

Swept Overboard ($24.60), a 5-year-old son of End Sweep, arrived in New York only Saturday morning. He twice had his flight from Los Angeles canceled because of mechanical problems with the plane.

"If I had to ride him here myself, he was going to get here," said the winning owner, J. Paul Reddam, who purchased Swept Overboard for $700,000 out of the Marshall Naify 505 Farms dispersal in 2000.

The plane troubles prompted trainer Richard Mandella to keep Redattore in California, freeing up Jorge Chavez to ride Swept Overboard.

Chavez was able to get Swept Overboard to settle in fifth position while a four-pronged speed duel developed among Left Bank, Crafty C.T., D'wildcat, and Affirmed Success. The half-mile fraction was 44.79 seconds.

Around the far turn, Chavez moved Swept Overboard between D'wildcat and Crafty C.T., and leaving the five-sixteenths pole he shot through inside of Affirmed Success to take command. Chavez kept busy on Swept Overboard through the stretch, though he was never challenged.

Swept Overboard, trained by Craig Dollase, who remained in California, covered the mile in 1:33.34 - the fourth fastest Met in the 109-year history of the race. Only Honour and Glory (1:32.80), Conquistador Cielo (1:33), and Langhfuhr (1:33) have run faster.

"It was a little bit hard to take him back," Chavez said. "I was trying to do my best without fighting too much. The last half-mile he was pulling hard I could not hold him too much longer, and I had to let him go."

Jockey John Velazquez told trainer Todd Pletcher that he could never get Left Bank to relax while racing between horses early on.

"He felt like he was just going too fast," Pletcher said. "He didn't want to be going that fast, but it was hard to take him out of it in between horses like that."