Updated on 09/15/2011 12:48PM

This time, go 'Overboard'

Michael J. Marten
El Corredor is one of the favorites in Sunday's Pat O'Brien

DEL MAR, Calif. - Swept Overboard might have turned in the most under-appreciated effort of Del Mar's meeting. While all the focus in the opening weekend Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap was on the duel between Kona Gold and Caller One, Swept Overboard threw a scare into both of them, finishing third, beaten a little more than one length.

Neither Kona Gold nor Caller One is participating in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap, which should make Swept Overboard the likely favorite, and most probable winner, in the seven-furlong sprint. But he will not get a free pass. Despite the absence of the nation's two best sprinters, this race came up remarkably tough, with the talented comebacker El Corredor among the eight rivals seeking to knock off Swept Overboard.

Del Mar's two graded stakes for older sprinters are named for the co-founders of the track. The Pat O'Brien is a furlong farther than the six-furlong Bing Crosby, and the distance should play to Swept Overboard's preferred, late-running style.

"He had a little bit of an awkward start last time," said Swept Overboard's trainer, Craig Dollase, "and we took him out of his running style. It was a short field, and we didn't want Caller One to get away. We'll use different tactics on Sunday, especially with the added distance."

Swept Overboard drew well, landing post 7. He will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, who has won twice in three starts with Swept Overboard.

El Corredor has not raced since capturing last fall's Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. His trainer, Bob Baffert, said he gave El Corredor the winter off because El Corredor is prone to quarter cracks. Baffert also said El Corredor was "a little jammed up" after the Cigar Mile.

El Corredor has trained swiftly for his comeback, and though Baffert has said all week that El Corredor might need a race, El Corredor won here last summer after nearly seven months on the sidelines. El Corredor carries top weight of 119 pounds.

Baffert also sends out Stormy Jack, a prototypical late-running sprinter who has won all four of his starts on Del Mar's main track.

The race also includes Ceeband, the upset winner of Hollywood Park's Triple Bend Handicap; Elaborate, who was third in the Triple Bend; Figlio Mio, a winner of 4 of 5 starts; Lexicon, who lost narrowly to Stormy Jack here on July 21; and the fleet Blade Prospector.