INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 21, 2010)—An authoritative winner against fellow California breds Oct. 30, Cost of Freedom returns to open company in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes Thursday at Hollywood Park.
A Grade III at six furlongs over Cushion Track, the Underwood is the main event on the Thanksgiving Day program. Post time is 11 a.m. Track gates will open at 9:15 a.m.
Owned by Gary and Cecil Barber and trained by John Sadler, Cost of Freedom won the California Cup Sprint by a record 6 ¼ lengths, completing six furlongs in 1:08.58. The clocking was the fastest at the distance during the Oak Tree/Hollywood Park meet.
A 7-year-old Cee’s Tizzy gelding and the Moscow Ballet mare Freedom Dance, Cost of Freedom has won nine of 19, earning $752,263. A victory would make him the second oldest Underwood winner. Men’s Exclusive, who won the race in consecutive years, was 8 when he repeated in 2001.
Sadler would also become the first trainer to win the Underwood three times. Bobby Frankel and Wesley Ward also have two wins. The most recent of Sadler’s victories was Frost Free (1990).
Joe Talamo will ride Cost of Freedom, who will carry 126 pounds. The most weight a winner of the Underwood has carried was Paying Dues, who won with 124 in 1996.
E Z’s Gentleman will be looking for his second graded win of the year at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Gentleman and the Distinctive Pro mare Tensie’s Pro captured the Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I, July 10.
Owned by Arnold Zetcher and trained by Bob Baffert, E Z’s Gentleman has won four of 17 and earned $359,711. A win would be the second in the Underwood for Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer clicked with Gundaghia in 1992.
Winless in four 2010 starts, Scenic Blast returns to synthetic in hopes of ending a losing streak that is over 17 months long.
Trained by John Shirreffs for Aussie Raider, Scenic Blast, a 6-year-old gelded son of Scenic out of the Delgado mare Daughter’s Charm has won eight of 25 and banked $1,466,042.
His best finish in the United States was a second behind Smiling Tiger in the Bing Crosby Aug. 1 at Del Mar. The Australian bred’s last victory came in the Kings Stand, a Group 1, June 16, 2009 at Ascot.
Owned by Rustin and Juliana Kretz, Robert Wiles and Twilight Racing LLC and trained by Kristin Mulhall, Square Deal will be making his graded stakes debut.
A 5-year-old Sky Mesa gelding out of the Gone West mare Jaded, Square Deal has won five of 19 and earned $119,620. He’s won two in a row locally, including a rapid (1:08.63) triumph at the Underwood distance in an optional claimer Oct. 28.
Canonize is back in California after finishing sixth in the Phoenix over the Polytrack at Keeneland Oct. 8. Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, the 4-year-old gelded son of Aldebaran and the Saint Ballado mare Comanche Star has won three of seven. His bankroll is $123,184.
GatoGo Win enters off a fifth place finish in the Ancient Title, a Grade I, Oct. 9. The 4-year-old City Place colt and the Odyle mare Brooks N Boots has won four of 14 and earned $200,061 for owners Joey Platts and Jack Sims and trainer Bob Troeger.
From inside out, the field for the 30th Vernon O. Underwood Stakes: Canonize, Alonso Quinonez rides, 118 pounds; Cost of Freedom, Joe Talamo, 126; Gato Go Win, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Square Deal, Patrick Valenzuela, 120; Scenic Blast, Victor Espinoza, 122 and E Z’s Gentleman, Joel Rosario, 124.
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