INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 13, 2010)—Ending a losing streak that extended 16 races, Unusual Suspect was the surprise winner of the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Dismissed at 10-1 in the field of eight, the 6-year-old Unusual Heat horse out of the Crested Wave mare Penpot collared pacesetter Temple City in the final strides to earn the first Grade I victory of his career.
In joining Prince Spellbound, who won the second division of the Turf Cup in 1982, as the only California bred winners of the race, Unusual Suspect was up to win by a head under jockey Corey Nakatani.
Owned by trainer Barry Abrams, his wife Dyan and brother David, who bred the dark bay, Unusual Suspect has now won nine of 55. The $150,000 payday enabled him to become a millionaire. His bankroll is $1,035,171. Seven of his wins have come over grass.
Completing the 1 ½ miles in 2:25.83, Unusual Suspect paid $22.40, $9.40 and $5. Temple City, who relaxed well under jockey Joe Talamo, paid $6.20 and $4. He finished three-quarters of a length in front of 15-1 outsider Buenos Dias. The show price on Buenos Dias, who trailed for the first eight furlongs, was $7.
“He broke really well and I was in a pretty good position,’’ said Nakatani after his third Turf Cup victory, but first since he scored with Lazy Lode in 1998. “They were going slow, so I just let him do his own thing. What more can I say?
“Barry’s team put him together and put him in the right spot for me and made me look good. At the very end when I called on him, he kind of gave me that surge that I thought he would and we were able to get there.’’
The win was the first for Unusual Suspect since he popped at 24-1 in the Cougar II Handicap over the Polytrack at Del Mar Aug. 5, 2009.
“We’ll give him some time off and see how he comes out of the race, then think about sending him to Australia in a couple of months,’’ said Abrams. “This horse deserves to be a stallion.
“But in this country distance horses aren’t popular stallions. So my thinking, if I send him to Australia I can race him there a year and then retire him to stud.’’
Treat Gently, the 2-1 second choice, had to settle for fourth in her quest to become the second female winner of the Turf Cup. She finished a nose in front of Worth Repeating, then came Marlang, Bit Shot Syd and 19-10 favorite Where’s the Remote.
Racing resumes Sunday. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
The feature attraction on the nine race program is the $55,000-added Playa Del Rey Stakes. Eight fillies and mares are scheduled to run six furlongs over Cushion Track.
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