07/05/2013 4:00AM

Square Eddie making a mark with small first crop

Benoit & Associates
Square Eddie returned from a suspensory injury Jan. 14, 2011, to win an allowance race and set a Santa Anita Park track record for 6 1/2 furlongs with a time of 1:13.11.

The success the young stallion Square Eddie has with his first crop of runners this year has a homemade feel.

When Square Eddie went to stud in early 2010, there was nominal interest from outside breeders, owner Paul Reddam recalls. Reddam raced Square Eddie for most of his career and backed the stallion with his own mares that first year.

“The first crop is pretty much mine that I bred to him,” Reddam said in late June. “There are a couple of outside horses.”

Already, Reddam has been rewarded.

Square Eddie got his first stakes winner when Sprouts won the $100,250 Cinderella Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 15. The filly’s win has given Square Eddie the early lead among California’s juvenile stallions, ranked by progeny earnings.

Through Monday, Square Eddie’s progeny had earned $139,380. He had two winners from his first four runners, including Smoove It, a filly who won a $52,000 maiden special weight race at five furlongs in her second start at Hollywood Park on June 29.

“So far, so good, for sure,” Reddam said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way things are going.”

Square Eddie, a 7-year-old by Smart Strike, had 33 foals in his first crop in 2011, according to Jockey Club statistics. For his second crop, Reddam again strongly support the stallion with his own mares. According to The Jockey Club, Square Eddie had 31 foals of 2012. He was bred to 45 mares that year.

Reddam, best known for winning the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another, raced Square Eddie for most of his career, which included 3 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $856,019. On the track, Square Eddie was among the highest-rated horses in his age group in the winter of 2008-09 but was plagued by minor injuries.

In the fall of 2008, Square Eddie arrived from England following a second in the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes on the synthetic track at Kempton Park. He quickly made a favorable impression, winning his U.S. debut in a 9-1 upset in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in October 2008.

Square Eddie was the 7-2 favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita later that month but finished second by 1 1/4 lengths to Midshipman. Square Eddie went into the winter season as a West Coast contender for the Triple Crown but had an interrupted campaign. After finishing second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade 3 San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita in January, Square Eddie was sidelined with a cannon-bone injury.

If his racing career had ended then, Reddam said, Square Eddie would not be standing at stud in California.

“When he got hurt at the beginning of his 3-year-old season, if he’d been retired at that time, he would be standing in Kentucky,” Reddam said. “He was a Grade 1 winner at 2, second in the Breeders’ Cup, and by Smart Strike.”

Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill tried desperately to have Square Eddie ready for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The colt finished third behind Advice in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April 2009 and was a candidate for the Kentucky Derby until the days before the race, when his soundness became too great of a concern. Heat had been detected in a shin.

Square Eddie did not race again until the fall of 2009 and was winless in four stakes in the final three months of the year. After a suspensory injury was detected in early February 2010, Square Eddie went to stud at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif. Without the late-season success in 2009, Reddam found he was the primary supporter of the stallion.

Later that year, the suspensory injury was reassessed, and a decision was made to put Square Eddie back in training with O’Neill. He returned to racing at Santa Anita in January 2011 and had a memorable return, winning an allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs by 3 1/4 lengths in track-record time of 1:13.11.

Square Eddie did not win again in five subsequent starts, including three Grade 1 races, to end his career.

Square Eddie stood for a fee of $5,000 in 2013. He is one of two notable freshman stallions of 2013 standing in California by Smart Strike, joined by Papa Clem, a multiple stakes winner. Smart Strike, a former leading stallion, is best known as the sire of Curlin, the Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and sire of this year’s Belmont Stakes winner, Palace Malice.

Square Eddie is out of Forty Gran, an El Gran Senor mare who was stakes-placed at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.

With a small crop, Square Eddie will need continued success from his runners to remain at or near the top of the state’s first-crop stallion list. Reddam said Sprouts, trained by Ed Freeman, will run in the $100,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar on July 19.

Though the breeding season is over, Square Eddie’s recent winners could lead to support from breeders other than Reddam in 2014.

“A lot of people have been asking,” Reddam said. “People took notice.”

Reddam said the stallion’s progeny who have raced this year do not represent all the promising runners in his first crop.

“He has two or three others,” he said. “I’ve gotten excited. We have the first crop, the yearlings, the babies, and the mares in foal. I feel like we took a chance, and we’re in a good spot.”

Square Eddie

2006, ch. h., Smart Strike out of Forty Gran, by El Gran Senor
Bred by Kinghaven Farms Ltd. (Ontario)
Stands at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., for $5,000


2008 2 6   2 (1) 2 (2) 1 $767,366
2009 3 6 0 1 (1)  1 (1) $52,000
2011 5 6 1 0 0 $36,653
TOTALS   18   3 (1) 3 (3)  2 (1) $856,019

At 2: 1st Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity [G1]; 2nd Breeders’ Cup Juvenile [G1], Sirenia S. [Eng-G1]
At 3: 2nd San Rafael S. [G3]; 3rd Coolmore Lexington S. [G2]

Square Eddie’s number of mares bred
2012: 45
2011: 40
2010: 34