INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 25, 2010)—Overcoming a bit of a slow start, Cost of Freedom quickly assumed command and went on to win the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes Thursday at Hollywood Park.
Giving trainer John Sadler a record third victory in the Grade III, the 7-year-old Cee’s Tizzy gelding out of the Moscow Ballet mare Freedom Dance earned his second stakes win in less than a month for owners Gary and Cecil Barber.
The 1 ¾ length score over 17-1 shot Gato Go Win and four others in the Underwood came on the heels of a decisive – 6 ¼ lengths – win in the California Cup Sprint Oct. 30.
Ridden again by Joe Talamo, Cost of Freedom, the even-money favorite, completed the six furlongs in 1:08.46. The clocking was the fastest at the distance for the current meet. It was also the swiftest Underwood since Sailors Sunset won in a stakes record 1:07.79 in 2006.
Claimed for $50,000 by Sadler for the Barbers July 28, 2008 at Del Mar, Cost of Freedom now has 10 wins in 20 starts. The $60,000 check he earned Thursday pushed his earnings to $812,263. Six of the victories, three in graded events, and purses totaling $661,247 have come in 12 races for his current connections.
The 126 pounds Cost of Freedom carried was the most ever for an Underwood winner. Paying Dues won under 124 pounds 1996.
Giving Talamo his second win in the race – the first was aboard Bushwacker in 2007 – Cost of Freedom paid $4, $3 and $2.40. Gato Go Win, who finished 3 ¾ lengths in front of Scenic Blast, returned $8.80 and $4.40. The show price on Scenic Blast was $3.40.
Canonize was a nose behind Scenic Blast in fourth and he was followed by Square Deal and 2-1 second choice E Z’s Gentleman.
“This is one of his better tracks,’’ said Sadler after Cost of Freedom won for the fourth time in eight appearances over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track. “He’s always run well here. What’s nice is that we’ve had him long enough that he feels like family, so it’s a good time to win on Thanksgiving.
“I was a little concerned carrying highweight and he’s an older horse, but he does so well on this track. Now we’ll probably give him a slight breather or come back at the end of the meet in the ($75,000-added) On Trust (closing day, Dec. 19).’’
Racing continues Friday. Post time is 12:30 p.m.
The highlight is the $250,000 Matriarch, the first of five races in Hollywood Park’s annual Turf Festival. A Grade I at one mile on turf, the Matriarch attracted seven fillies and mares. Special Duty is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
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