Unusual Heat Pensioned at Age 26

By Blood-Horse Staff
Unusual Heat, the all time leading sire in California progeny earnings, has been pensioned from stud duty at Harris Farms near Coalinga, Calif., at the age of 26.

“It is with great emotion that we have to announce the retirement of Unusual Heat,” said Harris Auerbach, managing partner of M. Auerbach LLC. “He’s been remarkable, and even in his final season at stud in 2016 managed to get 25 of 30 bred mares in foal. It’s been an amazing run, and I’m happy that ‘Heat’ can now just relax and enjoy the rest of his days just being a horse.”

Bred by John T. L. Jones Jr. in Kentucky, Unusual Heat is a son of Nureyev out of Rossard, a daughter of Glacial who was a champion in Sweden and Denmark. In 1991 he became the highest-priced horse ever sold at a Barretts yearling auction, fetching a price of $250,000. He went on to race both in Europe and the United States under trainers Dermot Weld, Richard Mandella, and Barry Abrams. He was a multiple stakes winner who finished with a record of 16-6-2-2 and earnings of $142,605.

Where Unusual Heat made his indelible mark was in the breeding shed. Under the ownership of Abrams and Auerbach, Unusual Heat stood his first season at Walter Greenman’s Farm near Hemet, Calif., before moving to Old English Rancho near Sanger, Calif., where he spent the bulk of his early stallion career.

In 2010, Unusual Heat was moved to John C. Harris’ Harris Farms, where spent the last six seasons of his career at stud.

The impact of Unusual Heat on California breeding and racing was far reaching. From 16 crops racing, he is the sire of 42 black-type stakes winners and 12 graded winners, including Acclamation, a multiple grade I winner who won the 2011 Eclipse Award as champion older male and earned more than $1.9 million. Unusual Heat‘s progeny, which also include grade I-winning millionaire The Usual Q. T., have amassed more than $52.4 million in earnings worldwide. He has sired 150 earners of more than $100,000 and 75 earners of more than $200,000 out of 556 starters.

Unusual Heat has won six California leading sire titles and is still the reigning California-conceived leading turf sire with 12 straight titles (2004-15). Unusual Heat has also produced 15 California champions, including Acclamation, a now freshman sire who stands at Old English Rancho.

“He’s been the perennial leading sire in California for over a decade and his influence on California breeding and racing through his sons and daughters will be prevalent for years to come,” said Doug Burge, the longtime president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

Other notable runners by Unusual Heat include stakes winners Lethal Heat, Unusual Suspect, Golden Doc A, Gervinho  , Burns, Pretty Unusual, Lennyfromalibu, Spenditallbaby, Mensa Heat, Tucked Away, Lakerville, and Lightmyfirebaby.

Currently, Unusual Heat is represented by 2016 stakes winners Cheekaboo, Majestic Heat, Pacific Heat, Boozer, and Central Heat. In 2016, Unusual Heat has had 89 runners and 47 winners and leads all California sires in California-conceived North American progeny earnings.