Hollywood Turf Express H. (gr. III)

(gr. IIIT , 6f ,)

UNUSUAL SUSPECT (DK B/ h, 114 lb) $90,000
Unusual Heat —Penpont (NZ) , by Crested Wave
B—David Abrams, CA.; O—Abrams, Barry, David and Dyan; T—Barry Abrams

Bonfante (B g, 117 lb) $30,000
Fruition —Tahoma Cat , by Mountain Cat
B—Tenbrink & Frankfurt Stables, CA.; O—Frankfurt Stables and Tenbrink, Eugene; T—Ronald L. McAnally

Desert Code (CH h, 116 lb) $18,000
E Dubai —Chatta Code , by Lost Code
B—ClassicStar, KY.; O—Tarabilla Farms, Inc.; T—David E. Hofmans

Margins: nose, nose, neck. Others: Quietly Mine 119($9,000) , El Manuel (CHI) 116($3,000) , Night Chapter (GB) 118 , Moth Ball (GB) 116 , T. D. Vance 118 , Fast Parade 122 . Winning Jockey, Tyler Baze.

Unusual Suspect had his work cut out for him in the stretch in the Nov. 24 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) at six furlongs. Last of nine at the top of the stretch and still last at the eighth pole, he passed foe after foe to get up to win by a nose over Bonfante.

“Basically he’s a nice horse and a come-from-behind horse,” said trainer and co-owner Barry Abrams in a bit of an understatement. “He came from behind today and had no troubles. Everything went beautifully. He comes from a great family.”

Although Unusual Suspect’s third dam, Black Willow, was a champion in New Zealand, the colt’s “great family” is mostly a combination of his sire, Unusual Heat, and dam, New Zealand import Penpont. All seven of Penpont’s foals are by Unusual Heat, and all five of racing age are winners, with four of them earning in excess of $140,000.

Unusual Suspect is the leader, with $469,136. Abrams races him with his wife, Dyan, and his brother, David, who is the breeder of Unusual Suspect. Unusual Suspect won the Nov. 3 California Cup Mile Handicap at Oak Tree at Santa Anita in his last start and the Bay Meadows Derby in September.

Penpont’s 2-year-old, Golden Doc A, was in action on the same card as the Hollywood Turf Express. Owned by the three Abrams family members and Madeline Auerbach, Golden Doc A dead heated for third in the Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies. She earlier won the Anoakia and Generous Portion Stakes in Southern California and has earned $144,716.

Penpont’s two other six-figure earners are 6-year-old Master Heat and 5-year-old Solid Fuel. Penpont, who is kept at the Johnston’s family’s Old English Rancho near Sanger, Calif., is in foal to Unusual Heat.

Unusual Heat, bred in Kentucky by John T.L. Jones Jr., was a three-time stakes winner in Ireland. He raced as an older horse in the U.S. in 1996 and was claimed by Barry Abrams for $80,000 at Hollywood Park for a partnership that included James Auerbach. In his two races for his new owners, Unusual Heat won a claiming race and ran unplaced in the Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile Stakes (gr. IIT).

David Abrams was represented on Cal Cup day as co-breeder by stakes winner Runforthemoneybaby. Sired by Unusual Heat, Runforthemoney captured the California Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

Unusual Heat has sired 11 stakes winners, including five 2007 added-money winners. Unusual Heat stands at Old English Rancho. His 2007 fee was $15,000. His 2008 fee will be $20,000.—D.S.