02/11/2011 2:43PM

Unusual Suspect heading to Australia for stud duty

Benoit & Associates
Unusual Suspect has been sold and will be relocated to Australia for stud duty.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Unusual Suspect, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup last November, is in quarantine until late February for an eventual relocation to Australia for stud duty, trainer Barry Abrams said.

Unusual Suspect may race in Australia, though Abrams said that was uncertain. “The trainer there will evaluate him,” he said.

A 7-year-old California-bred by Unusual Heat out of the New Zealand-bred mare Penpont, Unusual Suspect has won 9 of 56 starts and $1,038,171. He was acquired by Australian Peter Lord and is currently in quarantine at Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang, Calif., Abrams said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The mare is a New Zealand mare, so it’s a good cross to a lot of their horses,” Abrams said of Australian breeders.

Abrams said that as a turf distance specialist, Unusual Suspect will be more attractive to breeders in Australia than he would be in California. “For me to take a chance and stand him here, there is no market,” he said.

Abrams also said the competition in the turf marathon division in California has deepened in recent months, which could have limited Unusual Suspect’s success in 2011.

“In California, we’d have to run against Marlang, Bourbon Bay, and Champ Pegasus,” Abrams said. “He’d be third or fourth all the time.”

Unusual Suspect won the second start of his career, in 2006, in a maiden race on turf at Del Mar. He ran in 44 stakes in his career, winning six of those races. They ranged in distance from the Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express over six furlongs on turf in 2007 to two races over 1 1/2 miles – the 2009 Cougar II Handicap on Polytrack at Del Mar and the Hollywood Turf Cup last November.

Unusual Suspect is a full brother to Golden Doc A, winner of 3 of 26 starts and $580,126. Her career was highlighted by a win in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita in 2008.

Western Fame to Paradise Road

The veteran California stallion Western Fame and E Z Warrior, whose first foals will arrive this year, will stand the 2011 breeding season at Paradise Road Ranch in Lathrop, Calif.

Western Fame, 19, previously stood at Applebite Farm in French Camp, Calif., which closed last year. Western Fame, who will stand for $2,000, is the sire of 10 crops to race, including Jet West, winner of the California Cup Sprint in 2005.

E Z Warrior, who stood at Applebite in 2010, was listed as sold for $5,700 to owner-breder George Krikorian at the Barretts January mixed sale on Jan. 24, according to the sale company. E Z Warrior, a graded stakes winner who earned $238,468, will stand for $2,000, according to Paradise Road Ranch general manager Doreen Spinney.

Spinney called E Z Warrior “a great new addition” to Paradise Road Ranch, a 30-acre facility that specializes in mare and foal care and lay-ups. Brave Act also stands at Paradise Road Ranch.

The ranch was previously operated by Doug Utley and has been leased since September 2009 by Herb Moniz, who races in Northern California.

Spinney expects Brave Act, who stands for $500, to attract a book of 30 mares and said attracting mare owners to the stallions will be a challenge in the current economic environment.

“People are starting to call now,” she said. “They call and say, ‘What will I do with my mares?’ ”

She acknowledged that some mare owners are not breeding this year, a bad sign for California’s breeding industry, which has seen the foal crop decline in recent years.

“It will be a struggle to fill some of the books,” she said.