08/14/2008 11:00PM

Penpont's foals elevate Unusual Heat as stallion


Even the most dedicated racing fan is forgiven for not recalling the racing career of Penpont in the late 1990s.

The appearance of her name on a breeding line is another matter.

While Penpont had only 1 win in 17 starts, she has been a star broodmare. Recently, Penpont was honored as the 2007-08 California Broodmare of the Year in voting of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association members.

Penpont has been represented by two graded stakes winners in the last year - Unusual Suspect, the winner of the Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express last November, and Golden Doc A, the winner of the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes in February.

Penpont's success has been a family affair. A 14-year-old New Zealand-bred mare by Crested Wave, Penpont is owned by the brothers David and Barry Abrams and Barry's wife, Dyan. From 2000 to 2007, they bred Penpont annually to their stallion Unusual Heat, who rose from a modest start to become the state's leading stallion by progeny earnings this year.

Penpont's foals have played a major role in that development. She is the dam of Master Heat (who earned $157,764), Solid Fuel ($168,093), Rushen Heat ($151,168), Unusual Suspect ($504,866), and Golden Doc A ($496,189). Rushen Heat, Unusual Suspect and Golden Doc A have raced this year.

This year, for the first time, Penpont did not produce a foal, according to Barry Abrams, who besides co-owning Penpoint is a Southern California trainer. Abrams said that Penpont's 2008 foal was stillborn.

Because she would have been bred at a later date, Penpont was left open this year, according to Barry Abrams. "We gave her a year off," he said.

There also has been concern about Penpont's health. She has battled founder, although Barry Abrams said the situation has improved.

"It looks like she's recovering," he said.

Penpont raced in New Zealand and California. She earned $31,722.

Golden Doc A was Penpont's first stakes winner, in the Generous Portion Stakes for California-bred 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar on Aug. 29, 2007. It was the start of a remarkable three months for the mare's foals. Golden Doc A later won the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita in October, and finished third in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24.

On the same Nov. 24 program, Golden Doc A's older full brother Unusual Suspect won his third stakes of the autumn, and first at the graded level, in the Hollywood Turf Express. Preceding that race, Unusual Suspect won the Bay Meadows Derby and the California Cup Mile. This year, Unusual Suspect has not had the same success, going winless in seven starts.

Golden Doc A has been in the best form of her career this year. Owned by Ron McCauley since last winter, Golden Doc A won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile at Santa Anita in February and later finished second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. She was also fourth in the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn Stakes.

Golden Doc A has been working regularly in recent weeks for Abrams at Del Mar, and is a candidate for the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over a mile on Aug. 31.

The mating of Unusual Heat and Penpont has at least two more opportunities for success. Penpont is the dam of a yearling colt by Unusual Heat and a 2-year-old named Mama Rosa, who is unlikely to start until the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, Abrams said.

Penpont is scheduled to be bred to Unusual Heat in 2009.