`The Bear’ is back

first_img“When they cancelled turf racing at Hollywood Park,” said Abrams, explaining his dry spell, “it hurt my program. Without turf, my horses aren’t too good. I have 30 maidens and they were all getting ready for Santa Anita. “With the weather clearing, we’ll start winning races again. Hollywood Park and Oak Tree were difficult. I didn’t have any horses ready for Oak Tree and there was no turf racing at Hollywood.” Abrams’ best two horses have been Lennyfromalibu and Famous Digger. Lennyfromalibu won the 2003 California Cup Mile in 2003 for a $52.20 upset, then two months later set a track record for 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:11.13 on Jan. 22, 2004. He claimed Famous Digger for $40,000, and in 1997 won five stakes races with her, including the Honeymoon Handicap and the Variety Queen at Hollywood Park, and the Del Mar Oaks and San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. She later was sold for seven figures to Fusao Sekeguchi of Fusaichi Pegasus fame. The show plungers – those who wager vast sums of money on horses to show – were back in force on Thursday and lined up to bet on Healthy Addiction, the 3-5 favorite in the $79,750 Paseana Stakes. Healthy Addiction, ridden perfectly by jockey Garrett Gomez, won the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares by two lengths over Freakin Streakin in 1:44.95. A total of $374,861 was bet to show on the race with $350,523 of that amount wagered on Healthy Addiction and creating a minus show pool of $69,765. Healthy Addiction, trained by John Sadler, paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. It was Healthy Addiction’s seventh victory from 16 career races and her first start since finishing 13th – and last – in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last October at Belmont Park in New York. Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey announced last Wednesday that he will retire after the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 28. “You hate to see somebody like him go, especially a fierce competitor like Jerry,” Gomez said. “He’s someone who will be missed, but it will open up a lot of doors for a lot of riders. Jerry was one of the best for years and I’m sorry to see him go.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Not only did his stable go 0 for 30 at the Oak Tree meeting, but he also was 0 for 10 at the Hollywood Park fall meeting. However, that winless streak pales in comparison to the news he received early last winter when doctors informed Abrams, a non-smoker, that he had inoperable throat cancer. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded cardChemotherapy treatments were required and “The Bear,” as he is affectionately known around the race track, has lost more than 50 pounds because his diet has changed dramatically. But 2006 is looking much brighter for the Arcadia resident, who was born in Minsk, Russia. “I’m feeling good, my health is great and I go one day at a time,” said Abrams, who continually is upbeat about his situation. “I go every five months for checkups and if everything is good for four years, then I’ll be home free.” Things have been looking up on the racing front as well. He already has saddled three double-digit winners at the meet, including Presidential Heat ($18.40), Lady’s Champagne ($14.20) and Meet The Heat ($25). center_img ARCADIA – Last autumn was a tough time for 51-year-old trainer Barry Abrams. In fact, 2005 probably was the roughest year of his life. last_img read more