Patriotic Abrams Eyes 'Starspangled' Victory
September 27, 2014 09:59am
Santa Anita Park - Benoit Photo.

Call it karma, but Barry Abrams has Starspangled Heat entered in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on turf.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the nation’s National Anthem, originally penned by Francis Scott Key during the battle of Fort McHenry in 1814.

That’s not the only coincidence connected to the race.

“I became a citizen the day that Starspangled Heat was born, Nov. 14, 2008,” said Abrams, a native of Minsk, Russia. “He was born the same day so the name was appropriate.”

Abrams acknowledged that Starspangled Heat has but a longshot’s chance in the John Henry, but the gelded son of Unusual Heat has paid his way thanks to a 5-5-10 record from 36 starts, accumulating earnings of $452,697.

Unusual Heat, meanwhile, continues his enduring run as a stallion where he stands for $20,000 at Harris Farms in Coalinga. He turns 25 on Jan. 1.

“We’re booking mares, even though at 25 you play it by ear,” said Harris Auerbach, Unusual Heat’s Managing Partner for shareholders Madeline Auerbach, a commissioner on the California Horse Racing Board and a prominent owner/breeder; Barry Abrams; and his brother, David. “We made the decision last week to start taking bookings. He looks tremendous. We’re probably going to limit him to 30 or 35 mares.

“He had 47 breedings last year and he got 41 of the 47 in foal. They say in human years, horses have a ratio of four or five, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that. But all of his contemporaries have retired or died: Benchmark, Bertrando, In Excess, Cee’s Tizzy: Unusual Heat is still standing.

“He’s remarkable.”

The John Henry, race seven of nine: Big John B, Mike Smith, 8-5; Bench Light, Kent Desormeaux, 8-1; Si Sage, Brice Blanc, 20-1; Poshky, Edwin Maldonado, 30-1; Unbridled Command, Tiago Pereira, 12-1; Starspangled Heat, Corey Nakatani, 15-1; Big Kick, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Bright Thought, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Irish Surf, Elvis Trujillo, 6-1; and Finnegans Wake, Joe Talamo, 5-1.

Source: Santa Anita Park


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