10/28/2009 11:00PM

Cost of Freedom back to claim Sprint spot

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A week before the 2008 Breeders' Cup, trainer John Sadler had Cost of Freedom at the very top of his game and was supremely confident heading into the Sprint. But all of that came crashing down in a swirl of controversy and frustration after Cost of Freedom was ordered scratched by the stewards on the morning of the race on advice from the track veterinarians.

One week before the 2009 Breeders' Cup, Sadler once again has Cost of Freedom primed for the opportunity he was deprived of a year earlier - to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"I really don't want to hash out what happened last year," Sadler said. "This is a new year and a chance for a little redemption. But wouldn't it be a great story if he were to win the race after all we went through a year ago?"

Cost of Freedom would have gone into the 2008 Sprint off a pair of victories for which he was awarded career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figures, the second a half-length triumph in the Grade 1 Ancient Title. This time, Cost of Freedom enters the Sprint winless in two starts on the year that include a fourth-place finish in defense of his Ancient Title crown.

"The horse got a long rest after being scratched from the Breeders' Cup, trained very well for his comeback race, but stumbled at the start, rushed up and got tired," said Sadler. "He came back in the Ancient Title over a purely closer's track and ran a very good number, according to the Ragozin sheets. The third start off the layoff should be his best yet, and I think by the time next week gets here, he'll be pretty close to where he was at this time last year."

Sadler, who said nothing specific was ever diagnosed as the cause for Cost of Freedom's physical problems, plans on working Cost of Freedom once more before the Sprint. More important, he said he is not worried about getting the former claimer into the starting gate for the Sprint the second time around.

"He's been examined by the same vets who advised that he be scratched last year, and they are really happy with him now."