11/09/2012 3:43PM

Hovdey: Reddam realizes an owner’s limitations

Barbara D. Livingston
He’s Had Enough (left) gets edged by Shanghai Bobby in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The Paul Reddam roller coaster of 2012 officially began on Feb. 4, when I’ll Have Another won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita at 43-1. The ride continued through victories in the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness before coming to a screeching halt the day before the Belmont Stakes, when I’ll Have Another’s injured tendon was deemed too dicey to continue.

There followed a period of relative calm. Reddam and his wife, Zillah, caught their breath, I’ll Have Another was sold to a Japanese breeder, their filly Quiet Oasis took the Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park, and their colt Know More won the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar as a maiden. Then came the million-dollar Pennsylvania Derby and Handsome Mike’s 19-1 surprise over a field that included the Travers twins, Alpha and Golden Ticket. Strange things were happening again.

So why not throw a bunch of runners at the Breeders’ Cup and see what sticks? Anyway, to be discouraged by such mundane concerns as morning-line odds or media expectations would be to fly in the face of all Reddam had learned as a student and then teacher of philosophy from the writings of, among others, Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose aphorisms (“If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.”) would appear tailor-made for the daring racehorse owner.

“This I will guarantee,” Reddam said during the early part of the Saturday card, not long after Know More finished 13th at 18-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. “We’ve got a bunch more like this going the rest of the day, and one of them will hit the board. I couldn’t tell you which one, but one of them will.”

Let’s hear it for the laws of probability, alive and well in the Reddam camp.

About two and a half hours later, after Reddam’s Second City finished ninth in the Dirt Mile at 42-1, his Tapit colt He’s Had Enough gave favored Shanghai Bobby fits all the way to the wire before finishing second, beaten a head at 19-1, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This took the rest of the Reddam runners off the hook, allowing Cogito to go on and finish seventh in the Turf at 39-1, Boxeur des Rues to beat one horse in the Sprint at 68-1, and Handsome Mike to run ninth behind Fort Larned in the Classic at 25-1.

Reddam also had thought about running his 2-year-old Irish filly, Wittgenstein, in a Breeders’ Cup race, but she would have required a large supplementary fee and, like the others, would have been well into double-figure odds.

“Even I have to draw the line somewhere,” Reddam said.

Instead, Wittgenstein and her stablemate Renee’s Titan will be appear on Sunday at Hollywood Park in the $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes, a mile and one-sixteenth main track race that sets up the local 2-year-old fillies for the Starlet Stakes later in the meet.

If you can name a boy Sue, you’ve got to be cool with Wittgenstein for a filly, especially since the Austrian philosopher, according to Reddam, was the man who basically turned the idea of philosophy on its head.

“Here’s a guy who wrote, ‘What is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle,’ ” Reddam said. “Among philosophers he had a very good, off-the-wall sense of humor.”

Which is, of course, why we all took Philosophy 101. The laughs. As for Wittgenstein the filly, it shouldn’t be a shock if she wins the Sharp Cat despite her poor finish far back in the Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita.

“She was actually making a move down the backside that day, coming up the rail,” Reddam recalled. “When they got to the far turn she got shut off by Executiveprivilege” – the eventual winner – “and then she said, ‘No thank you,’ and backed out of it. She just lost her interest.”

But she did come right back to win a maiden race over the Santa Anita turf.

As for He’s Had Enough, the Juvenile was immediately scorned as subpar. The final time for the mile and one-sixteenth was nearly a full second slower than the Juvenile Fillies won the day before by Beholder. Rosie Napravnik, who rode Shanghai Bobby, insisted her colt lollygagged on the lead, waiting for competition. Post-race speed figures did not give rise to the idea that these were classic horses.

“It was a very hard race to analyze,” Reddam said. “There are about ten possible explanations for what happened. You could do the straightforward Andy Beyer answer that based on the number all the horses were terrible, although it’s highly improbable that all nine starters ran the worst race they’d run for quite awhile. The pace was very hot and the track was exhausting. Our colt did not have the perfect trip, but that happens, and if the race had been ten more yards he would have staggered by the winner. They were clearly walking at the end, though.

“I also must admit I’ve never been so happy to run second,” Reddam added. “The horse ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and that’s a pretty good test as to which horses at this point are alive for the Derby, even though I know the picture probably will look quite different four months from now.”

This time last year Reddam’s Derby winner I’ll Have Another was on the shelf, nursing sore shins, while Derby runner-up Bodemeister was still nearly two months from his first race.

“I could say I really like the horse we have,” Reddam said. “He’s mentally immature and I think he’s going to get better – going in the right direction and all that. But would I tell people to buy your Derby seat right now to see He’s Had Enough go there and win? No I would not – unless it was available at a deep discount.”