03/16/2007 11:00PM

Sweet Fervor comes flying in Jones


Sweet Fervor launched a torrid rally down the middle of the racetrack to catch favored Any Limit in the final yards and post an 8-1 upset Saturday in the $200,000 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

Giving trainer Bill Mott his second straight victory in the Grade 2 race, Sweet Fervor returned $18.60 after finishing seven furlongs in 1:22.67 over a fast track. Fernando Jara was aboard Sweet Fervor, a 4-year-old Seeking the Gold filly bred and owned by the Kinsman Stable of George Steinbrenner.

Any Limit, the 8-5 favorite, contested the pace in the Shirley Jones, first disposing of longshot Amazing Speed before My Lucky Free drew even with her at the top of the stretch. Any Limit then gradually edged away down the stretch, but she was no match for the late surge of Sweet Fervor, whose final margin was a length. Any Limit, coming off back-to-back wins in the First Lady and Hurricane Bertie handicaps, finished 1 1/2 lengths before My Lucky Free, the third-place finisher in a field of eight fillies and mares.

Sweet Fervor started her career with two wins, ending with the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs early last year, but she raced just twice more in 2006 before going on a 9 1/2-month layoff. She returned Jan. 28 with a three-length victory in a second-level allowance sprint at Gulfstream, after which Mott pointed her to the Shirley Jones, which the Hall of Fame trainer won last year with Splendid Blended.