Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Surprise Stallion: Square Eddie

When Square Eddie (Smart Strike) retired to a California farm, it’s doubtful many people imagined the success he’d find in a relatively short period of time.

Starting his career in England, Square Eddie made a big impression in his first U.S. start when he won the Grade 1 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity. He followed that up with a second place finish in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Midshipman (Unbridled’s Song) and placed in two spring 3-year-old races the following year before injuries caused him to go off form. 

Video courtesy of NTRAHorse Racing 

Square Eddie was first retired in February 2010 with a suspensory injury and initially stood for a private fee at Vessels Stallion Farm with owner Paul Reddam committing to breed his own mares to the stallion. That first year, Square Eddie covered 34 mares with 33 of them getting in foal with all 33 giving birth to live foals for a 97 percent strike rate.

But later that year after Square Eddie had healed from the injury, Reddam returned him to the track in early 2011 for another tilt after not being satisfied with the stallion’s stud career up to that point. That return proved worthwhile in his first start when he broke the 6 ½ furlong track record at Santa Anita, covering the distance in a time of 1:13.11. He made two more starts that spring, finishing ninth in grade 1s on turf and dirt before returning back to the breeding shed.

He covered more mares in 2011 than 2010, rare for a “second year” stallion, with 40 visiting him and 32 getting in foal (31 had live foals according to the Jockey Club) even with his abbreviated breeding season. The stallion made another return to the track that fall but it was short lived with three off-the-board finishes in three starts. There was no returning to the track after that with the stallion settling into a breeding-only lifestyle for the 2012 season.

Ralis is the most successful horse from the crop conceived in 2012.
Impressively, in his third year he attracted even more mares than his first or second years with 46 going to him for 38 live foals. His number dropped a little bit in 2013 with 42 mares coming to him for 30 live foals but his first crop was looking to help him out.

In June 2013, Square Eddie got his first stakes winner with Sprouts. He ended the season with five winners from 13 runners, earning him a top 10 spot on the North American freshman sire by earnings rankings on Blood-Horse’s Stallion Register rankings, beating out Kentucky stallions Old Fashioned (Unbridled’s Song) and Einstein (BRZ) (Spend a Buck) and leading the California Freshman sire rankings.

The following year Square Eddie, who finished 21st on California’s General Sire list, had 19 winners from 39 runners with More Complexity giving her sire his only stakes winner that year. He was second in the California Second-Crop Sire rankings by earnings behind fellow Smart Strike son Papa Clem and tied for third by winners.  Still strongly supported by Reddam, Square Eddie was sent 39 mares during the 2014 season but in 2015 his luck was about to change.

Square Eddie only bred 40 mares this year but that number is sure to go up in 2016.

Square Eddie was part of a historic double for trainer Doug O’Neill and Paul Reddam on Sept. 7 when his son Ralis won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes just a few hours before Nyquist (Uncle Mo) won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity. 

Video courtesy of the New York Racing Association 

Another Reddam/O’Neill colt trying to take his place on the Kentucky Derby trail is Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes winner Found Money who was (a distant) fourth in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot. Found Money was the top half of a Square Eddie exacta in the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes with Mrazek finishing second in that race and the Summer Juvenile Champion Stakes before winning the Graduation Stakes in August to end his 2-year-old season.

In addition to leading California’s Third Crop Sires list by earnings with 64 percent of his runners winning this year, his three stakes winners are also the most of any third crop sire in the state and has him in the top five of all California sires with his earnings placing him seventh on the California General Sires list.

With his 2-year-olds making up most of his success this year, Square Eddie is leading the California 2-year-old sires rankings by earnings with over $300,000 more than second placed Lucky Pulpit as of Nov. 29. Square Eddie also has more 2-year-old stakes winners and stakes horses than any other stallion in California.

Square Eddie currently sits in the 20th position by earnings on the nationwide 2-year-old sires ranking with 13 runners, only about half the number of many of the other stallions in the top 20. His three stakes winners also ranks him fifth on the list by stakes winners, the highest of any United States-based stallion outside of Kentucky.

It was recently announced that Square Eddie’s stud fee will be set at $25,000 for 2016, a $15,000 rise from his 2015 stud fee. He will continue standing at Vessels Stallion Farm, however it has been renamed Ocean Breeze Ranch. As of now his stud fee is the highest of any stallion in California for 2016.

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