The Brock Talk

Friday, October 21, 2011

Abrams Will Have Unusual Attention On Australia's Melbourne Cup

Read most any biography on Southern California trainer Barry Abrams (photo right), and one learns that he was born in Minsk, Russia, snuck into Poland on a freight train with his family at age five and eventually made it to the United States in 1963 via another stop in Israel. Despite his world travels as a child however, as a adult Abrams has been known more for his keen claims than his international participation.

But that is where Abrams finds himself now with his home-bred Unusual Suspect running in Australia with the ultimate goal being the prestigious Emirates Melbourne Cup Nov. 1. Recently Barry, wife Dyan and David Abrams took on Australian partners R. Te, S. Rose, P. Lord and trainer Michael Kent, in an effort to further promote the stallion career of their grade 1 millionaire down under.

As a son of Abrams’ stallion Unusual Heat, Abrams has more than a little interest in Unusual Suspect as a runner and stallion. Abrams stands Unusual Heat at Harris Ranch near Coalinga, California for a $20,000 fee. This year Unusual Heat is having a banner year with his leading runner being the multiple grade 1 winner Acclamation. Counting wins in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic among his current streak of five consecutive victories. Acclamation had earned $1,126,000 in 2011 before being sidelined recently with a minor foot problem.

Abrams claimed Unusual Heat for $80,000 in 1996 after remembering him from the 1992 Barrett’s Two-Year-Old in Training sale. “I loved (Unusual Heat) as a son of Nureyev and his dam [Rossard] was the best horse in Sweden," Abrams told Shane Anderson during a recent interview on Australia’s Radio Sport National When they brought her over here, she beat the best horses in America in the Flower Bowl Handicap (gr. 1). “Unusual Heat sold for $250,000 as a 2-year-old at Barrett’s, but I didn’t have that kind of money, so I never even bid on him. But I followed him when they took him to Ireland and he won his first race. He was going to be the favorite for [the Irish] 2000 Guiness, but he got hurt. And he kept getting hurt. Four years later when they brought him back to America, I claimed him as a stallion prospect.”

This year, Unusual Heat as a stallion has a Horse of the Year candidate in Acclamation; and a potential Melbourne Cup winner in Unusual Suspect (photo below).

There are other reasons Abrams has Unusual Suspect in Australia other than the new partners. “To keep [Unusual Suspect as a stallion] in America would be hard to do. American breeders just want speed, speed, speed,” Abrams told Anderson during the same broadcast. “But I’m finding that breeders in Australia are breeding to win the [1-1/2 mile BMW] Caufield Cup. They are breeding to win the 3,200 meter (about 2 miles) Melbourne Cup.”

So far Unusual Suspect has had three races in Australia. He was fourth in the Dato Tin Chan Nam Stakes (gr. 2) at a mile at Moonee Valley Race Course in September; then tenth in the 1-1/4 Tab Sportsbet Cranbourne Cup Oct. 9 and sixth, beaten just more than three lengths, in the BMW Caulfield Cup (gr. 1) Oct. 15.

But those losses don’t seem to deter Abrams, whose voice is still recovering from surgery to treat a recurring throat cancer. “Unusual Suspect,” Abrams says with enthusiasm, “He’s the best horse that nobody knows about.”

Should Unusual Suspect win the Melbourne Cup, that will definitely change – at the very least – in Australia. Run each year at 3:00 pm on the first Tuesday of November, the $6.175 million Melbourne Cup is the cornerstone of the historic Melbourne Carnival at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne, Australia. First run in 1861, the Melbourne Cup is the richest sporting event in Australia and is perhaps the closest thing the country has to an unofficial national holiday. In 1880, the Melbourne Cup attracted their first crowd of 100,000 when the population of Australia was only 290,000 and the race continues today to be woven into the social culture of Australia. For years the Melbourne Cup has created as much style as Champions and has been known for decades as “The Race That Stops a Nation.”

When it comes to Unusual Suspect, Abrams is less concerned about stopping a nation, but has his attention on starting a stallion career.

For complete Shane Anderson interview with Barry Abrams on National Sport Radio Sport Click Here (Abram interview is last feature starting at approximately the 20:00 mark.)

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I recently ran across this auction item that will benefit Remember Me Rescue here in Texas and it has caught my attention. What a unique auction item this is; and for a good cause.

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1 comment:

Amateurcapper said...


Great article...there was also a short interview of Abrams by Steve Byk this week.

He's a real longshot to win, but that's just the kind Abrams likes to be part of.