09/08/2009 11:00PM

Cost of Freedom gets green light to run

Barbara D. Livingston
Cost of Freedom was entered in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint but was a vet scratch.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The nearly yearlong fight to get Cost of Freedom cleared from the veterinarian's list and eligible to race ended last month for owner Gary Barber and trainer John Sadler.

The fight to gain a spot in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 7 begins in Wednesday's $85,000 Pirate's Bounty Stakes at Del Mar. The six-furlong Pirate's Bounty will be Cost of Freedom's first start since a win in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita last fall.

Both Barber and Sadler are convinced that Cost of Freedom is capable of winning his comeback.

"He's happy and fit," Barber said. "There are no excuses. I think he's just an athlete."

Cost of Freedom will be easy to find in the race. "I don't see any scenario where he's not in front," Sadler said.

Cost of Freedom was an intended starter for the BC Sprint last October and the Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park last November. Before both races, he was ruled unsound in prerace inspections.

Last January, he was taken out of training and sent to Kentucky, where he underwent a variety of treatments, including sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, according to Barber.

After Wednesday's race, Barber and Sadler would like to run Cost of Freedom in the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 11 and the BC Sprint on Nov. 7.

Cost of Freedom has just four rivals in the Pirate's Bounty, which is restricted to horses who have not won a stakes worth $50,000 to the winner, other than statebred, since March 1.

Cost of Freedom drew the rail. In post position order, Candy Pull, Polonius, Dancing in Silks, and Tangled Tango are the other starters.

Dancing in Silks, who has placed in three stakes, won an optional claimer here on Aug. 14, his first start since a fourth in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita last January.

Polonius, the winner of two turf stakes in 2008, is making his first start in more than 14 months and needs the out, trainer Mike Pender said. "Hopefully, we can get this as a tightener for bigger things down the road," he said.

Sadler will also start Tangled Tango, who placed in three turf stakes last year and was fifth in an optional claimer here on Aug. 30 in his 2009 debut.