Sports

Square Eddie is one cool customer

His ownership changed hands while he was in the air en route to the United States, and his new trainer only laid eyes on him hours before the biggest start of his burgeoning career.

Admittedly, the connections of Square Eddie don't know a whole lot about what makes the 2-year-old son of Smart Strike tick.

After his outing in Saturday's Grade I Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, however, they no longer have to wonder if the chestnut colt knows how to run.

The whirlwind of activity that surrounded Square Eddie this week was nothing compared to the stirring effort he put forth on Saturday as the precocious colt rocketed off the final turn and drew clear by 43/4 lengths under jockey Rafael Bejarano to upend 10 rivals in the 11⁄16-mile race for 2-year-olds.

Square Eddie was one of a handful of horses that came over from England from the barn of trainer John Best and, literally as he was in the skies, owner J. Paul Reddam completed a deal to purchase him from British owner David Gorton.

Reddam figured at worst, the Canadian-bred colt might be able to make some hay in the Canadian Triple Crown races next season if his form didn't pan out in the States.

Now Reddam might be setting himself up for some deja vu as he also purchased a majority interest in English-based Wilko in 2004 shortly before that colt triumphed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"We had looked at the horse a few weeks ago and it took a little while to put the deal together," said Reddam, who also won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf with Red Rocks. "We didn't know what to expect because he's from England. The routine is very different there.

"His last race was second in a Group III but was very game coming to the wire and it looked to me like the horse wanted more ground. When he started to open up today I was like wow, he's the real deal."

After breaking from post eight under Bejarano, Square Eddie settled comfortably into third just off the flank of Majestic Blue while Notonthesamepage was winging away on the front end.

After whisking through three-quarters in 1:12.10, Notonthesamepage began to shorten his stride and Majestic Blue moved into perfect striking position on the outside. Square Eddie charged up simultaneously, however, and simply rocketed past Majestic Blue coming off the turn en route to hitting the wire in 1:43.04.

"The horse was very comfortable in the race, very professional," said Bejarano, who rode four winners on the day. "I was right next to the speed and when it came to the turn, I felt like I had a lot of speed. I think he'll be a great horse for the Breeders' Cup."

While Square Eddie kicked clear under right-handed urging, Terrain came running to claim second with Pioneer of the Nile coming up for third.

Square Eddie's only other win in five starts came at Salisbury on July 22. He will now head to the barn of trainer Doug O'Neill.

"I don't know much about him other than he looks like a very smart colt," O'Neill said. "Paul started calling (Square Eddie) Baby Curlin because he's by Smart Strike as well. So I guess we're only about $9 million away from him now."

Shortly after Square Eddie rolled to his triumph, the hard-knocking Thorn Song delivered an impressive effort of his own in the Grade I, $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile.

The 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song led gate to wire, putting up solid fractions of :23.28 and :46.26 while still having enough to hold off the late-running Shakis by 11/4 lengths.

Thorn Song has now won his last three races contested at the 1-mile distance and is likely headed to the Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 25.

"He can run a mile all out and that's what we decided to try and do today, just put him out there and see how fast and how far he can go," trainer Dale Romans said. "This feels really good because I always thought he deserved a Grade I win. He trains like a Grade I horse."

Eventual third-place finisher War Monger charged up on the final turn and appeared ready to go past Thorn Song, but the latter dug in further to stop the teletimer in 1:34.97.

"I know I was going awfully quick on the backside but I felt like he was doing it within himself," said winning jockey Robby Albarado.

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