12/26/2008 12:00AM

Unusual Suspect wins Golden Gate opener


Unusual Suspect ($7) made a strong move into the lane to take control of the race and win the opening day Silveyville Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Friday.

Chantal Sutherland settled the 4-year-old Unusual Heat colt behind the dawdling pace of 11-10 favorite Bamaha Breeze, who set fractions of 26.17, 52.37 and 1:16.98 in the 1 1/16-mile race. When she asked Unusual Suspect, he moved three wide outside Bamaha Breeze and Cover Magic and quickly took command as the trio turned for home.

He maintained command through the stretch, defeating Cover Magic by one length in 1:47.36. Bamaha Breeze finished third in his first start around two turns.

"I think we've had him too far back lately," said Sutherland, who accompanied Unusual Suspect north for trainer Barry Abrams. "Today they were crawling, crawling, and I think he liked being up closer. He had a very nice work coming into this race, so I thought he'd run well. He ran great. I know he likes to get in front and wait on horses so I gave him a tap late."

The victory was the seventh for the David Abrams homebred, who had won three stakes races, all on turf. He earned $45,000, lifting his career earnings to $562,592.

Morning-line favorite Pass the Heat was scratched after popping an abscess on a foot earlier in the day. My Summer Slew also scratched.