07/12/2002 12:00AM

Reddam happy with growing stable

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Paul Reddam has been a philosophy professor, mortgage company executive, television pitchman, and struggling amateur golfer. He is happiest with his latest role as the owner of a successful racing stable.

In the last few years, Reddam, 46, has been acquiring horses for his stable, which is in the midst of its best season. On May 27, Swept Overboard won the $750,000 Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park, giving Reddam his most lucrative win. Last fall, Swept Overboard finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

On Sunday, Reddam will try for another big-race win when Momentum attempts to upset Milwaukee Brew and Sky Jack in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park.

"I never thought of running in the Gold Cup, Met Mile, and Breeders' Cup," he said on a recent morning on the Hollywood Park backstretch. "I just never dreamed of it happening."

The success of his 20-horse Thoroughbred stable, trained by Craig Dollase, is a far cry from Reddam's modest beginnings in harness racing in the 1980's.

A former college professor of philosophy who quit to start a mortgage business, Reddam was so involved in harness racing that he provided financing for a race meeting at Los Alamitos in 1993 when the sport needed a backer.

Although Reddam still has 20 harness horses racing at The Meadowlands, on the Detroit-Windsor, Ontario, circuit, and at Cal-Expo in Sacramento, he is no longer involved in front-office affairs. He began taking a more active role in Thoroughbred racing in the late 1990's when his mortgage company, Ditech, was growing rapidly.

Reddam even appeared in television commercials for Ditech, pitching home loans.

"Even though some of the commercials mighty have been schlocky, it put a face with the company," Reddam said.

He recalls being recognized a few times. "It doesn't happen much anymore. I'm a has-been," he said dryly.

Ditech was sold to GMAC in 1999, and Reddam resigned as chief executive the following year. The terms of the deal will keep Reddam out of the mortgage business for the next 20 months, he said. Currently, he is the president of a real estate company, Relantis, but admits to spending considerable time watching racing on television, and playing golf. He discreetly declines to reveal his handicap.

"It's starting to get better," he said. "You'd think after 300 rounds it would help."

Reddam's Thoroughbred stable has doubled in size in the last year, and he is unsure how much it will grow.

"It depends on what day I'm asked," he said. "On the day after the Met Mile, I wanted five times as many."

Dollase and Reddam became a team after Reddam's attorney interviewed several trainers on his client's behalf in 2000.

"Craig struck me as the most enthusiastic," Reddam recalled. "Craig and I have a good partnership. He's very conservative and I'm very aggressive."

For Dollase, that sometimes means saying no.

"We're like opposites that have attracted," Dollase said. "In this business, when it comes to the horses, you need a little conservative thinking."

To build the stable, Reddam has been buying horses from Europe and at 2-year-olds-in-training sales.

In an effort to have a horse for the 2003 Triple Crown, Reddam bought nine 2-year-olds in training this year, including Logician, a promising California-bred colt by Tabasco Cat acquired at Keeneland in April. Logician has not started, which Reddam says is by design.

"When you see a 2-year-old with a lot of early races, you don't see them win a lot of races for older horses," he said.

In recent years, Reddam has been buying race-ready horses to keep the stable active. In the summer of 2000, Swept Overboard was bought for $700,000 at the 505 Farms dispersal at Barretts. He has since won four stakes.

Swept Overboard's mid-race rally that led to the win in the Met Mile still gives Reddam chills.

"As soon as he made that move, the 25 seconds it took to reach the finish seemed like a day," he said.

Swept Overboard may go to stud next year, and is being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Sprint this fall.

From Europe, Reddam has bought Momentum and Clerical Error, a French import who finished unplaced in the American Oaks on July 6 and is being pointed for the Del Mar Oaks next month.

Momentum arrived last fall from England and won his main track debut in the Native Diver Handicap in December.

The 4-year-old Momentum was plagued by foot problems earlier this year. He finished fifth as the favorite in the San Fernando Stakes and was pulled up because of a quarter crack in the Strub Stakes.

After 10 weeks off, Momentum finished second in an allowance race and a game third in the Californian Stakes on June 15, setting up a start in Sunday's Gold Cup.

"I'm anxious for this race," Reddam said of the Gold Cup. "I think he'll give a good account of himself."