05/11/2013 5:34PM

Belmont Park: Freedom Child romps in Peter Pan slop; Belmont Stakes next

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Tom Keyser
Freedom Child, with Luis Saez aboard, runs away from his rivals in the Peter Pan.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Freedom Child had no chance to make the Kentucky Derby when he lost all chance at the start of the Wood Memorial. Given the way he ran in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes, Freedom Child could have a big chance in the Belmont Stakes on June 8. Especially if the track is wet.

Despite an awkward start, Freedom Child quickly shot to the front under Luis Saez and turned the Peter Pan into his own personal training session, romping to a 13 1/4-length victory over a sloppy Belmont Park main track.

Saint Vigeur finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Go Get the Basil, who nosed out 5-2 favorite Abraham for third. Abraham was followed in the order of finish by Incognito, Fear the Kitten, My Name Is Michael, Narvaez, and Infinite Magic.

Battier and Declan’s Warrior were scratched.

Immediately after the race, Terry Finley, head of the West Point Thoroughbreds syndicate that owns Freedom Child along with St Elias Stable and Spendthrift Farm, said Freedom Child would run in the Belmont Stakes.

The owners held out hope of making it to the Kentucky Derby when they entered Freedom Child in the Wood Memorial. But the horse was eliminated at the break when he reacted to Go Get the Basil, who was inside of him, beating the starting gate. Freedom Child was still in the hands of the assistant starter when the doors opened, and despite making a big run into contention down the backside, he finished last and was later declared a non-starter by the stewards.

Finley said he had no regrets about missing the Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby is tough,” Finley said. “If you don’t get there, there’s a reason. It saved a lot of agita.”

Saturday, there was only a little agita at the start.

Breaking from the rail, Freedom Child did take a right-hand turn out of the gate, but Saez quickly got him straightened away. Freedom Child was able to make the lead through a quarter-mile in 23.51 seconds, and he continued to extend his advantage through a half-mile in 46.67 seconds, six furlongs in 1:10.98, and a mile in 1:35.95. He drifted out somewhat in the sloppy stretch and covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.09. He returned $9.20 as the second choice.

“He started to get his head up in the air and I think he got off a little slow,” Tom Albertrani, who trains Freedom Child, said. “The plan was to be on the lead, and luckily he was able to quicken up leaving the gate and get to an easy lead, so it worked out well.”

Said Saez: “He wanted to run so I let him run.”

Last Nov. 24, Freedom Child finished second to Orb in a maiden race at Aqueduct. Revolutionary was third in that race.

Depending what happens with Kentucky Derby winner Orb in next Saturday’s Preakness, a rematch between all three horses could be on tap with history on the line in the June 8 Belmont Stakes.

Duane Leigh More than 1 year ago
A walk in the park for Freedom Child .hand ridden till the the final turn = very easy last race .the horse showed no signs of fatigue after the race = was not even breathing hard amazing horse .if he can rate @ relax he will win by 2or 3 lengths .watched him work at 5 f on a fast dry track alone he is truly amazing to go 59 and with little effort .by the way he has won on a dry track too by 5 lengths Duane Leigh
Willie Bill More than 1 year ago
I won money on that race. The second I laid eyes on Freedom Child I ran to the bet line. I say this he will be first , then Orb ,followed by Revolutionary, then Oxbow with Mylute, AND that is my HIGH FIVE.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I like the way Ingonito was moving late. Put in a nice run on a lone pacesetter.
jjklavins More than 1 year ago
I agree - if Orb tries a repeat of Derby run in the slop, he's gonna have company the last half mile (Incognito and a couple others) Distance + wet track influences all over Inco's pedigree - add classy connections and 3yo sudden improvement and you can make a case for Incognito to rock the tote at a price
Dipak More than 1 year ago
i thouht the same thing about Belmont Stakes, it will be race between ORB, FREEDOM CHILD and REVOLUTIONARY, and i think placing will be in that order, at least i hope so, let me see how ORB will do in the Preakness?
kenneth More than 1 year ago
Horse-race reporting is different from other sports reporting in one particular regard: Never a word about the also-rans (e.g.,"couldn't get hold of the track," "rank," "popped a quarter," etc.). So bettors who didn't have the winner learn nothingabout the event except the future plans for their winner. Feckless, vapid.
Pete Morris More than 1 year ago
How did Hughes sell part of this horse to Hucksters like Westpoint?
Nicole Lafferty Emanuelo More than 1 year ago
very impressive. hard to say if he is just a mud lover or a really nice horse. Didnt like the fact we finished in the center of track. Will be very interesting to see him in Belmont............
Lee Davis More than 1 year ago
I had a big bet on him in the wood, 40-1 it meant 15,000 to me. Trust me he would`ve won it!!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
sorry, I dont trust gambling degenerate!
wolves More than 1 year ago
Lee, trust me, the horse had no chance in the Wood....40/1 was a huge underlay
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Lee, I am with you brother. i had him singled in the pick 4 which was going to pay 11,000 on Wood day. I did get the consolation of 600+. Would have rather had a real shot at the big payoff. The race he won at Gulfstream was super.
Alex Sterioff More than 1 year ago
Me to Lee
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
I watched the simulcast at Churchill. During the race some dude kept saying FC was going too fast. He said over and over again, "dead meat". "Dead meat" won by 13.
Tom Temple More than 1 year ago
It's all a game of chance. Sometimes, too fast is correct and sometimes not. Not is the case this time. Did you laugh at him?
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Rather than reply to certain inquiries I'll just write here......why did Saez tap Freedom Child while he was obviously a winner? Well if you were sitting where Saez was you would have known the horse was "getting out".....he was trying to get him focused, he wasn't abusing the horse. Just trying to straighten him out, that was obvious. Now before we start crowning a new king realize FC is a Malibu Moon, getting the distance shouldn't have been a problem, like his half brother Orb and the slop only helped matters. Be aware that it was a one turn 1 1/8th....not 2 turns and it does make a difference. Also be aware that that is the way Belmont plays when it's sloppy...get the lead and as long as you aren't a nag there's more than a good shot you'll win. The horse did what he was supposed to do......now the trick is can he do that with some adversity? He couldn't do it in the Wood, though I will admit that was alot to overcome, but.....that's what makes a real good horse. Like Orb, slow pace he wins, fast pace he wins......He runs his races against other horses, not the clock. Times on tracks like that have to be taken with a grain of salt......otherwise you start believing horses like Friesen Fire are much better than they really are. Quarter splits mean little.....FC had never run those splits before, so thinking he suddenly "got it" wouldn't be a good idea. Take the race for what it was....a very nice win over a sloppy course. Remember this Peter Pan could have easily been a NW2X Alw. race.....While I do like FC I'm also cognizant of who he beat and I know he isn't almost 14 lengths better than some of the ones who finished behind him......The same way I didn't think he was that bad in the Wood.......folks gave him a pass in the Wood because of his trouble, the same should apply to his good fortune in the PP.....he got the lead on a track he should have relished, in a one turn 1 1/8th against a so so group......how else can you explain folks betting My Name Is Michael?.....he hasn't shown a lick of run all year.......making him a betting choice either proves folks are not too bright or they didn't think much of everyone else.....either way you slice it was a so so group. Though I believe Incognito will improve........he absolutely hated that race track. Take each race as it is, never be too optomistic over a good run and too pessimistic about a bad one, there are circumstances in every race.....it's just what a thoroughbred is physically capable of and how he runs that matters......So enjoy FC's win for what itb was, but don't hang your hat on it.......
charles b More than 1 year ago
Well said..................................great analysis.
Kathie Roller-Stell More than 1 year ago
No matter I agree with everything you say, I can see from reading your commentary that you are a student of the industry and not without intelligent thought processes so maybe you would be interested to learn...... In the vernacular of the trade (Thoroughbred racing and breeding) horses out of the SAME MARE are referred to as being full, or half siblings - brother or sister. If they are BY THE SAME STALLION, then, they are BY THE SAME STALLION. Because of the volume of offspring a stallion can have vs the one-a-year for a mare - if you are lucky - it would get cumbersome. Interesting the anomaly in an industry that charts it's course by leading sire lines, yet identifies siblings by dam alone.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
I read that too, and knew there would be someone with nothing better to do who would correct it. Read the articles/ comments and absorb their meaning. Too many paper graders here already.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
thanks Big Jeff,,,I was going to put quotes on "Half Brother" but thought everyone here should know what I meant......Kathie...I've been doing this longer and with more success than you can ever imagine.......you had your day in the sun....enjoy it.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
boy ..you're right on some points and wrong on others....first lets go with the wrong to say this horse did not perform in the wood and to suggest he should have overcome his adversity because good horses do tells me you are either a novice or did not see the race....he did not just simply break slow in that race he was held by the starter when the gate opened. not only did he loose all chance because of the ground he lost but he came out sideways had to straighten out and then as a speed horse try to make up 12 lengths quickly and get to the lead and he tried to do it while going widest into the first turn and remember he was drawn widest as well ....as for 1/2 brother in horseracing only horses by the same mare are considered half brothers sires can have as many as thousands of offspring since some of them cover 200 mares a year or more in two continents it is not practical to call all of the offspring of a sire half brothers...as for INCOGNITO not liking an off track its possible but the truth is besides his beating up on lesser competition by small margins after overcoming trouble he had never even run in a stakes race before this. His claim to fame was how much trouble he would get into before beating suspect competition as a matter of fact some of the horses he barely beat have come back to run mediocre races so it is possible that he did not run well because of the track but its also possible its the class hike that did him in.but i will concede you could be right on that point...as for the winner he was on the lead ridding a strong bias. so next out that will be a question mark.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Ray,,,,go back and read what I said, I never said he should have overcome his adversity in the wood. Read first....comment later. Some of my close pals got a kick out of the novice comment....sure, just started yesterday.....As far as the half brother thing...I'll repeat it once more......I should have put quotes on what I said about "half brother" but I made the stupid assumption everyone here had half a brain and knew what I meant....it was about Malibu Moons liking distance and mud......I've been doing this long enough and been successful at it that I feel I don't have to cross every T and dot every I............
MJP More than 1 year ago
Orb also won on an aberrant, sloppy track, and as with your analysis about FC, "I know he isn't almost 14 lengths better than some of the ones who finished behind him", I know that Orb absolutely was moved up hugely by the fast pace and the slop on Derby day and is not 15 lengths better than some of the horses who were up the track that day.
Bill Jacobs More than 1 year ago
One of the best written replies I've ever seen. At last, somebody "gets it". Unlike so many posts, replies, many are backed more in personal feelings rather than facts. See bill n below.
mrm More than 1 year ago
To say he couldn't do it in the wood is probably the dumbest comment I ever read on this sight.
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
MRM...........First off I said he couldn't win with what happened, I never said he didn't have a shot. Read what I wrote......not what you think I wrote......Read what I wrote for how I said it and meant it........But I'll go one further......you like Freedom Child In the Belmont? Please, then bet him......Second, now what I wrote was absolutely the truth if you understand racing and can read......that wasn't dumb, what was dumb is calling this blog a SIGHT and not a SITE.......learn english, then comment. OH but wait a minute...I did know what you meant, so why did I correct you? It's what some folks like to do in a public forum......You see I understood but just had to make myself sound smart......so we're even.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Same dam makes them a half,not same sire .
mike turfmonstr More than 1 year ago
Craig....read above......
Black More than 1 year ago
Hey MikeA ,how ya doin' ?
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Mike, your assessments are well noted; however, I don't think you saw the Wood as FC had a very bad start due to the starter not letting go his reigns when the gate opened. He then ran towards the rail and it took quite some doing for the jock to straighten the horse. He probably wouldn't have won that day but who knows!