Trainer Barry Abrams Visits Del Mar

The 57-year-old conditioner is recovering from recurring throat cancer surgery.

Trainer Barry Abrams, one month removed from surgery for recurring throat cancer, made an unexpected visit to Del Mar Aug. 5.

Abrams, 57,  showed up in the paddock before the third race and, between hugs from friends and family, supervised the saddling of his three entrants in the race.

The trio of 3-year-old geldings, sired by Abrams and Madeline Aurbach’s’ Unusual Heat, finished second (Starspangled Heat), third (Unusual Beam), and seventh (Royal Heat). Abrams then went to a room in the racing office to relax and watch the rest of the day’s races.

“I couldn’t sit in the house anymore,” Abrams said through a voice-enhancing device. “I was feeling good, the doctor said I could do whatever I want, and I told my wife (Dyan) ‘Let’s go.’ “

The Abrams are staying at the Barona Casino Resort and Hotel for the weekend. They’ll return to San Diego in a couple weeks as Abrams has radiation treatments scheduled at the UCSD medical center.

Being at Del Mar was in itself therapeutic, Abrams said. He’s been coming here since the late 1960s and it’s a place where he has saddled 12 stakes winners between 1995 and 2009.

Abrams has been very much involved with his operation from home in spite of his health issues while assistant Richard Baltas runs things on-site.

“Through the computers, web cams, and text messages I can keep track of what’s going on,” Abrams said. “But even in this electrical age, there’s nothing like being here. I have to be here.”

Abrams is looking forward to the La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 13, which is targeted as the next start for Oceanside Stakes runner-up Burns.