06/20/2001 11:00PM

Phase two of Swept Overboard's test

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Owner Paul Reddam paid $700,000 for Swept Overboard at an auction last summer.

Already a two-time stakes winner as a sprinter when he was purchased, Swept Overboard has been on the sidelines with a minor injury for much of the last year.

Saturday, in his second start of 2001, Swept Overboard starts as the 120-pound topweight in the $70,000 Robert Kerlan Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.

If Swept Overboard wins the turf sprint, trainer Craig Dollase will point for the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar on July 22, a race expected to attract 2000 sprint champion Kona Gold.

A win on Saturday would increase the value of Reddam's investment as the 4-year-old Swept Overboard approaches an important test next month.

"This is a good spot for him," Dollase said. "He's coming back in 17 days, but he bounced back quick."

Dollase said Swept Overboard suffered a hairline fracture of a cannon bone last August following a win in an allowance race over six furlongs. Dollase said the injury did not need surgery, only time.

In his comeback in an allowance race on turf on June 6, Swept Overboard was 2-5 and ran like it for much of the race. He led in late stretch, but was caught near the line by Blu Air Force, who was nominated to the Kerlan but was not entered.

"I thought he needed the race," Dollase said. "It was like giving him six works."

The Kerlan drew six entrants and is led by Swept Overboard and Lake William, the upset winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita in April.

The other four starters are outsiders. Impressive Grades was fifth in an allowance race on May 23, and has never won a stakes. King Slayer, who was claimed for $100,000 last March at Santa Anita, was fifth in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on May 4, his first start for trainer Bob Hess.

McCordnskuba, the likely pacesetter, is winless in his last eight starts, while Gibson County was fourth in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap on May 27.

Lake William won the San Simeon over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course for his first stakes win, but was overmatched in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on May 28, fading in the final quarter-mile to finish eighth of nine.

"He was in it for seven-eighths," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He should be tough off the San Simeon."