03/14/2016 2:06PM

Square Eddie rewards Reddam

Barbara D. Livingston
Ralis will make his first start of the year in Saturday's Rebel Stakes.

Owner and breeder J. Paul Reddam came into this season loaded with 3-year-old prospects – thanks in no small part to his faith in a talented but unlucky former runner of his.

Reddam, who campaigns the champion Nyquist (by Uncle Mo), also has several California-bred homebred stakes winners in his string by Square Eddie, whom he has heavily supported as a stallion. Those stakes winners helped make Square Eddie, a son of Smart Strike standing at Ocean Breeze Ranch, California’s leading juvenile sire of 2015. Two of those stakes winners, Ralis and Found Money, will look to keep the momentum going as they contest prominent stakes this weekend for Reddam.

Ralis will attempt to get back to the form he showed in winning the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes as a juvenile when he starts his year in the Grade 2, $900,000 Rebel Stakes on Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Following his signature victory, the colt finished sixth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“He’s doing really well,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who also trained Square Eddie. “We gave him some well-deserved time off after his last couple that he just didn’t fire in. After his last breeze, we said, ‘You know what? We think he’s good enough and ready enough to try the Rebel.’ We know it’s not going to be an easy race, but we think it’s a great Derby prep. It’s going to be a good test to kind of see where we’re at. If we run good there, we’re on our way to Kentucky.”

On Sunday, Found Money will contest the $415,000 Sunland Park Festival of Racing Stakes, which essentially replaces the Sunland Derby on the embattled track’s schedule. Found Money, Square Eddie’s leading earner last year, burst onto the scene by establishing a Santa Anita track record for 4 1/2 furlongs in his debut and subsequently won the Santa Anita Juvenile over Mrazek – another stakes-winning homebred son of Square Eddie campaigned by Reddam. Found Money picked up two stakes placings at Del Mar over the summer and fall and concluded his campaign by winning the King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos. He finished fourth in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his 2016 debut.

Square Eddie was Group 3-placed in England as a juvenile before Reddam brought him to the U.S., where he won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He was multiple graded stakes-placed in 2009, although his season was marked by disappointment – he missed the Triple Crown series due to cannon-bone issues and was later retired with a suspensory injury.

Reddam backed Square Eddie with his own mares during the horse’s initial season at stud in 2010, producing a small crop, led by multiple stakes winner Sprouts, that made Square Eddie California’s leading freshman sire of 2013.

Recovered from his suspensory injury, Square Eddie made a brief return to the races in 2011, establishing a track record at Santa Anita before going winless the rest of the season. He finally returned to farm life for the 2012 season.