09/30/2005 12:00AM

Reddam's eye for value has paid off


ARCADIA, Calif. - Paul Reddam likes to stay ahead of the curve, both in business and in racing. He hit a home run with his mortgage-lending company, the wildly popular Ditech.com, which he sold six years ago, and now seems to have found another cash cow with the personal-lending company Cash Call, whose catchy commercials ("Cash Call, cha-ching") blanket local television and radio stations.

If there's a niche market ripe for capitalization, Reddam, 50, finds it. That approach has served him well in racing, too. Last year, believing the 2-year-old division was subpar, Reddam bought a colt in Great Britain and one month later saw Wilko pull off an upset in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. This year, he bought the older filly Andujar when he sensed weakness in that division in California, and recently he has bought young horses to fill other voids. On Sunday, Reddam will attempt to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Norfolk Stakes with Jealous Profit, who is still a maiden, but who comes off an eye-catching third-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity.

The common denominator with Jealous Profit and Wilko is that they had already raced, and Reddam correctly believed their form was masked because of tough trips. Jealous Profit had raced just once, at Calder, but both he and Dennis O'Neill, who buys horses for his brother, trainer Doug O'Neill, thought Jealous Profit had plenty of potential.

"In the race at Calder, when the gate opened, he stood there," Reddam said Friday. "He rushed up, and usually when they do that they fade to last. To be second off that trip going seven furlongs, in his first race, I thought he had a lot of upside."

So did Dennis O'Neill. He does extensive bloodstock work while also overseeing the fiber-optic company Sun Communications, which was run by his brother Danny until he died of cancer in 2000. Dennis O'Neill had seen Jealous Profit's race on TVG, and started making calls regarding the colt "as soon as they hit the wire."

He took a red-eye flight to Florida and liked what he saw. Jealous Profit, a son of Trippi, is a lightly made, chestnut-colored colt with a blaze running down his face.

"I like to take a red-eye because I want to see a horse come in and out of his stall when he trains," said Dennis O'Neill, 42, who is four years older than Doug. "I like to see how they go to and from the track. Are they scared? When he came out of the stall, he was so classy."

"Paul and my brother talk a few times a day," Doug O'Neill said. "Dennis is like Paul in that every minute they are away from their business they're looking at horses. Dennis has his own business, but he'll jump on a plane and go visually inspect horses. Sometimes horses run well out of fear first time. He can tell in person if they have class and confidence, or if they are shy and fearful. He's a huge help for me.

"And Paul, he can dissect a race real well. And he likes to play the game at the high end."

Reddam, according to Dennis O'Neill, "is always willing to take a swing." In fact, both the O'Neills and Jamie McCalmont, the British agent who bought Wilko for Reddam, say they frequently talk Reddam out of buying horses they don't think are suitable.

"He loves the sport," Dennis O'Neill said. "He said that when he won with Wilko, there was no better feeling."

Reddam's passion for racing extends back several decades, to his youth in Windsor, Ontario. He developed his keen eye for watching races while gambling on harness racing, where trips are paramount. "Horses who get parked rarely win," he said. "They usually back through the field completely."

He bought his first harness horse "at Greenwood with my scholarship money," he said.

Reddam moved to California in 1978 while studying for his doctorate in philosophy, "the study of logic," he said. "It was 3 degrees when I left Toronto, 68 and sunny here," he said. Logic told him to stay. Reddam bought his first Thoroughbred in 1989, got out in the mid-1990's, but came back again in 2000 "when I got the bug again," he said.

"When I didn't own any, I still went to the track and bet," Reddam said.

Reddam employs several trainers. With Craig Dollase, Reddam won the Metropolitan Handicap with Swept Overboard, the Hollywood Starlet with Elloluv, and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Wilko. Reddam also owned 25 percent of Ten Most Wanted, who won the Travers Stakes for Wally Dollase, Craig's father. Andujar won the Milady Handicap for Reddam in her first start for O'Neill. Reddam currently has about 35 racehorses.

"About half I bought privately, but that percentage is heading higher," Reddam said.

That's because they are proving profitable. Cha-ching.