INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- At the age of 7, Cost of Freedom is showing no signs of slowing down. Instead, he seems to be running as well this fall as he has in the last few years.
In Thursday's $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park, Cost of Freedom led throughout the six furlongs, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Gato Go Win. Cost of Freedom ($4) was timed in 1:08.46, scoring his third stakes win of the year. He won the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap here in June and the California Cup Sprint for statebreds here Oct. 30.
Ridden in Thursday's race by Joe Talamo, Cost of Freedom took the lead a few strides out of the gate and set early fractions of 21.95 and 44.19 seconds, racing clear of stalkers Square Deal and E Z's Gentleman. None of the trailing pack of five threatened Cost of Freedom. Talamo gave Cost of Freedom a few reminders in deep stretch to maintain his advantage.
Gato Go Win, the longest shot in the field at 17-1, closed well to finish second, 3 3/4 lengths in front of Scenic Blast, who was followed by Canonize, Square Deal, and E Z's Gentleman.
Cost of Freedom has won 10 of 20 starts and $812,263. A gelding, he races for Gary and Cecil Barber and trainer John Sadler, who have mentioned the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March as a long-term goal for Cost of Freedom.