07/03/2008 11:00PM

Momentum's early returns encouraging

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Momentum, the California-based first-year stallion, cracked the national top 10 in progeny earnings earlier this week when the colt Lidstrom won his debut in a maiden race Wednesday at Hollywood Park.

The stallion's success is even more remarkable considering he has sired three winners from just six starters in a crop of 27 registered foals.

Momentum, who stands at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., will have larger crops of 2-year-olds in 2009 and 2010, and many of them are likely to race for the stallion's owner, Paul Reddam.

Not only has Reddam supported Momentum with his own mares, but financially guaranteed that other breeders would be satisfied with their Momentum foals by offering to buy back those horses as yearlings for up to three times the stud fee. The offer was extended for the 2006 and 2007 breeding season.

For the 2007 foals, Reddam committed to buying back yearlings at three times the $5,000 stud fee, or $15,000.

For the 2008 foals, the program changed. Reddam instructed mare owners to name a stud fee, ranging from $3,000 to $15,000. He committed to buying back the unwanted yearlings for three times the named fee. The stud fees varied considerably, he said.

"There were a bunch of people at $3,000 and a lot at $15,000," Reddam said.

It is unclear how many yearlings that Reddam will wind up buying back from other breeders this year. He estimates he will buy back 10 yearlings this year and approximately 25 next year.

"I stuck my neck out with the triple buyback guarantee," he said. "We'll end up buying a few. It depends on whether he can keep his success going."

Reddam said Momentum has 50 yearlings this year and is expected to have a crop of 80 foals this year. Next year, the figure will drop. "This year, he hardly bred any mares," Reddam said. "I probably bred 25 mares myself. There were no financial incentives."

Through Thursday, Momentum has progeny earnings of $92,340. He is the highest-ranked California-based stallion on the list of first-year sires. The red-hot Lion Heart, based in Kentucky, leads the national list with progeny earnings of $254,641.

Lidstrom, named after Detroit Red Wings captain Niklas Lidstrom, was bred by Reddam and is trained by Craig Dollase. The colt was favored in Wednesday's 5 1/2-furlong race, and rallied from fifth in a field of 11 to win by 2 1/4 lengths. The winning time of 1:05.44 was not quick, but Reddam and Dollase were encouraged by the style of the victory.

Dollase trained Momentum for Reddam during the American part of the stallion's career, which included a victory in the 2001 Native Diver Handicap and second-place finishes in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Pacific Classic and Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap in 2002. A stakes winner on turf in England at 3, Momentum, now 10, won 4 of 17 starts and $664,817.

Eventually, Reddam and Dollase would like to try Lidstrom on turf.

"He's bred to run on," Dollase said. "He reminds me a lot of his dad. He handles himself with a lot of class, a good-moving horse."

In the short-term, Lidstrom will be pointed to the $125,000 Graduation Stakes for 2-year-old California-breds over 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on July 23.

"Hopefully, we'll see some bigger and better races from him," Reddam said. "He really has some grass action. We're kind of high on that one."