Grade I winner The Usual Q.T., on a five-race winning streak, is the clear standout in the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT) on opening day at Santa Anita Dec. 26.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Winner of both the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) and Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) in November, this Unusual Heat gelding typifies the best of California breeding.
Since trainer James Cassidy switched The Usual Q.T. to the turf to break his maiden in August, all the California-bred son of standout sire Unusual Heat has done is win. He ran his streak to five against a powerful field.
Unusual Suspect, the second-longest shot on the board at 24-1, won a head-bobbing decision over Richard's Kid to capture the $150,000 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar and sew up a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Marathon.
California owner Madeline Auerbach announced a new racing venture in which she is syndicating offspring by major California stallion Unusual Heat.
Dual graded stakes winner Lethal Heat, who set seven-furlong track records in consecutive races at Del Mar last season, continues what her connections hope will end with an appearance in the $1 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) later this year when she returns in an allowance race July 25 on opening weekend of the Del Mar meeting.
Undefeated Beltene won her third straight race in an upset, when she rallied past Hooh Why in deep stretch to win the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks by a head at Santa Anita Jan. 24.
Unusual Suspect, guided by Chantal Sutherland, overtook the leaders in upper stretch en route to a one-length win in the $73,500 Silveyville Stakes on opening day of the 118-day Golden Gate Fields winter/spring meet Dec. 26.
Trainer Doug O'Neill watched his retired star Lava Man lead the post parade for Oak Tree's $250,000 California Cup Classic, then saw his newest stable standout Mr. Chairman dig in to defeat the favored filly Romance Is Diane by a head Oct. 5 at Santa Anita.
Tucked between a weekend of Breeders' Cup prep races and the California Cup showcasing the local product, California's fall select yearling sale offers a slimmer but more select catalog than in years past.
- By Tracy Gantz
Look in the winner's circle after any offspring of Unusual Heat wins a race and you'll likely see a petite, brown-haired woman hugging the jockey, high-fiving the trainer, or congratulating the owner.
Lethal Heat gained the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile and scored a head victory over Smooth Performer in a three-horse blanket finish to the $157,600 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track June 8.
Undefeated Lethal Heat won her third straight race in the space of a month and became a grade III winner when she burned past the pacesetters mid-stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $108,500 Santa Paula Stakes on the Santa Anita synthetic track March 30.
Favored Golden Doc A proved her big effort against 2007 Juvenile Filly champion Indian Blessing last time out was no fluke, coming from off the pace to become a grade I winner in the $250,000 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.
Outsider Unusual Suspect found a gaping hole mid-stretch and exploited it for his first graded stakes win in the $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 24.
A colt by Benchmark selling for $72,000 topped Tuesday's 2006 Northern California Yearling Sale, which showed an increase in average sale price of 8.6% from last year.
Tucked Away, a mare with many more nibbles than bites, surprised the field in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Sunday when she nipped a surging Hollywood Story by a nose at the wire.
Scrofa, ridden patiently by Patrick Valenzuela, rallied between horses and prevailed by a half-length Thursday in the $140,625 Irish O'Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.
Scrofa, in her fourth start since being claimed for $62,500, posted a convincing victory in the $100,000 Work The Crowd Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.
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