Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Square Eddie may
have been one of the unluckiest horses I have ever known during his racing
career, but as a sire, he is quickly exacting retribution. The Smart Strike colt
showed promise early in his career, winning the G1 Breeders’ Futurity over
Keeneland’s all weather track and running 2nd to 2008 Champion
2-Year Old Male Midshipman in that
year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. After finishing 2nd to The Pamplemousse in the G3 San Rafael
Stakes, he was sidelined with a cannon bone injury. Owner J. Paul Reddam and
trainer Doug O’Neill tried to have him ready for the 2009 Kentucky Derby, but
he was withdrawn days before the big race when his soundness again became an
Square Eddie was retired to stud in February of 2010 but
returned to racing in January of 2011. He won his comeback race, but that was
the only time he visited the winner’s circle after upsetting the Breeders’
Futurity. He was again retired following his unsuccessful 2011 campaign. He
covered 34 mares during his first stint in retirement, and he covered an
additional 40 mares in 2011 between an early winter campaign and a second half
of the year campaign. That number only marginally increased to 45 for the 2012
season. According to J. Paul Reddam, most of Square Eddie’s first crop is from
mares that he bred to the son of Smart Strike himself with a couple of outside
mares thrown into the mix. Despite covering just 34 mares during his first
season at stud, his first crop has already produced two winners from four
starters, including stakes winner Sprouts.
This Friday, Sprouts
lines up against two fellow daughters of Square Eddie, Eddies Curl and Smoove
It, in the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Stakes at Del Mar. All three
fillies are bay in color and are owned by Reddam Racing, LLC, though Eddies
Curl is owned in partnership with Vessels Stallion Farm. As the lone stakes
winner in the field, Sprouts should be installed as the morning line favorite.
Last out, Sprouts was the decisive 3 ½ length winner of the Cinderella Stakes,
which was contended at the same distance, 5.5 furlongs, as the CTBA.
Out of the Yankee Victor mare Ann Summers Gold, Sprouts has
shown two different dimensions in winning two of her three career starts. The
bay filly didn’t show much in her career debut, finishing 5th in a 4
½ furlong maiden race while stalking the pace, but in her second start, she wired
the field. She carried that winning form to the Cinderella, but rather than
taking charge in that race, she again stalked the pace before pouncing in the
stretch and drawing away. With a couple of other fillies in the field likely to
flash early speed, Sprouts and regular jockey Mario Gutierrez will probably continue to utilize a stalking trip.
Eddies Curl has
just one start on her résumé, a 3rd place finish in a 5
furlong maiden claiming affair. That 3rd place finish could
very well have been a win if racing luck had been on the filly’s side that day.
She spotted the field a couple lengths at the break, but used her rail position
to save ground early. As the field turned for home, she again found herself in
trouble. Despite having found her best stride, she was stuck behind a wall of
six horses and had nowhere to go. Under Mario Gutierrez, she first tried the 3
path, but when it was clear that was not going to open up, the duo had no
choice but to swing 7 wide for the stretch drive. Though she raced greenly,
drifting away from the whip, she closed nicely to hit the board, just a length
behind the top two finishers who were just a nose apart at the wire. With
better racing luck, she looks to improve off what was actually a nice debut.
Gutierrez stuck with Sprouts, so returning rider Chantal Sutherland gets the call on Eddies Curl.
Smoove It showed
good early speed in her career debut, but after being checked hard, she was
slow to recover her best stride. Even though she ran into trouble, she didn’t
quit and continued gamely on to hold third. In her second time out, Smoove It
again showed early speed when going to the lead. Swissarella and Moving Desert
ensured that she would not have an easy time of it, but Smoove It proved to be
a tenacious foe, battling back and finding another gear late after being headed
in the stretch. Doug O’Neill’s go-to guy Gutierrez was aboard for both of
Smoove It’s first two starts, but Kevin
Krigger will be in the irons for the CTBA Stakes.
The trio of Square Eddie fillies faces a quintet of other
contenders. Cinderella 6th place finisher Pay the Debt and 3rd place finisher Time for Angie return to take another crack at Sprouts. They are
joined by maiden winner Harlington’s Rose,
front-running Evening News, and
maiden Say’s Who.