08/24/2007 11:00PM

Abrams likes his colt's chances

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Trainer Barry Abrams has filled nearly his entire barn with the offspring of Unusual Heat, a stallion he co-owns. Unusual Heat has produced several stakes winners, and Abrams expects more this year.

He is tipping Medzendeekron, a starter in a $63,000 allowance race at Del Mar on Monday, to develop into an important horse.

"He's a very talented horse, but he's had a lot of little problems," Abrams said. "In my opinion, he's the best Unusual Heat I've ever had."

The statement would put Medzendeekron ahead of Lennyfromalibu, who earned $442,165 under Abrams's direction.

"I think he has more ability than Lennyfromalibu," Abrams said.

Monday's race over 1 1/16 miles on turf will be Medzendeekron's fourth start of the year. He won an allowance race over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on June 10, finished seventh in an allowance race on Hollywood's synthetic main track, and was second in an optional claimer over five furlongs on turf here Aug. 13.

Abrams called the start on a synthetic track "a mistake." He thought that Medzendeekron was unlucky in the turf sprint here, having to come from behind on a course that has played favorable to front-runners this summer.

"He never had a chance," Abrams said. "It was a workout race to stretch him out."

Monday, Medzendeekron must beat Optimer, who has lost his last three starts by two heads and a nose. Trained by Richard Dutrow, Optimer led in the final furlong of an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles here on July 23 but was caught at the wire by The Big One.

"He's going to win one day," said Chip Dutrow, assistant trainer to his brother. "No one is blaming anybody."

Dutrow insists that Optimer is not a horse who waits for a rival in the stretch, and allows himself to be caught.

"The horse that beat him was on the outside," Dutrow said of The Big One. "I think he tries every time. He's on top of his game and he's the horse to beat."

Trainer John Sherriffs has two starters: Bronzino and Wooden Ticket.

Bronzino has started once this year, finishing last of 10 in an allowance race at Del Mar on July 23. He beat maidens in a one-mile turf race last December at Hollywood Park.

Wooden Ticket, 5, has made only three starts. He beat maidens at Santa Anita in February 2005 and was a closing fourth in his only start this year, at Hollywood Park on July 2.