It's no secret owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill are willing to take their shots at the big races.
Reddam has had 29 Breeders' Cup runners alone or in partnership and has gotten major wins with Wilko in the 2004 Juvenile (gr. I) and Red Rocks in the 2006 Turf (gr. IT). O'Neill has three Breeders' Cup wins on his resume, and of course the pair won last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with I'll Have Another .
For this year's two-day, 14-race Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 1-2, O'Neill has nine starters entered and Reddam has three solid runners in Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) entrant Ontology; Juvenile (gr. I) contender Bond Holder; and Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner Concave.
Concave, from the first crop of Colonel John, may be a 15-1 shot in the 11/16-mile Juvenile Fillies but merits a closer look. She broke her maiden first time out, then was a rallying winner of Del Mar's Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) Aug. 7 before running third behind She's a Tiger in the seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante (gr. I).
That maiden win came July 12 at Betfair Hollywood Park going five furlongs on the turf. She then won the Aug. 7 Sorrento by a half-length over She's a Tiger on the Polytrack at Del Mar going six furlongs. She then was flat in her third-place finish Aug. 31 in the Debutante.
"She actually didn't run as well as I expected her to," Reddam said of the Sorrento. "We found out she was sick the next day. We thought she had recovered by the Debutante, but she hadn't."
"We were a little disappointed in her third-place finish," said trainer Doug O'Neill. "She was off her grain and as it turned out she was battling a little bit of a bug, but we've got her 100%. She's worked really well twice over this track since then. It will be her first time around two turns, like a lot of them in this field, but she's training in a manner that I think she is going to run a really big race."
"I'm optimistic about her going two turns," Reddam said Oct. 31. "You never know without trying. I know its two days before the race, but I think 15-1 is very generous."
Reddam paid a generous $160,000 for Concave out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March sale earlier this year.
"We liked her quite a bit," said Dennis O'Neill, Doug's brother who bought the filly at the sale. "She was consigned by Nick de Meric and Nick really liked her, too. She RNA'd and we wound up buying her after the sale."
De Meric purchased Concave from Vinery Bloodstock for $75,000 out of the Keeneland September sale after the filly had been picked up by Vinery Bloodstock as a short yearling at the Keeneland January sale from Elm Tree Farm, agent.
For more on Nick de Meric's Breeders' Cup runners, click here
"She was just a really good-looking filly," O'Neill said. "And she's by a stallion that I really liked. I thought she'd stretch out. We'll find out Saturday."
Concave, bred in Ontario by Windways Farm Limited, is out of the stakes-winning Ascot Knight mare Galadriel.
Concave is a half sister to restricted stakes winner and grade II-placed Preisnoe and restricted stakes-placed I Raffaella. Galadreil is a half sister to El Brujo, winner of the Pat O'Brien Stakes (gr. I). Concave's third dam is Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) winner Dame Mysterieuse.
Concave will face a tough line-up in the Juvenile Fillies including fellow locals Secret Compass and She's a Tiger, the one-two finishers in the Chandelier Stakes (gr. I) over this track and surface.
But O'Neill and Reddam are willing to take them on.
"In my experience, I've found we've won a number of races when we're 15-1," Reddam said. "At least the ones I remember...but then again, I don't remember the losses."
Perhaps after Saturday we won't forget about Concave.