10/29/2014 9:13AM

Free as a Bird out of BC Turf Sprint

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Free as a Bird wins the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland last out.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Free as a Bird, a winner of five consecutive sprint stakes this year, was withdrawn from Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita after she became upset on an airplane in Kentucky early Wednesday, trainer Ian Wilkes said.

Wilkes said Free as a Bird became unsettled when the plane’s engines were started.

“When they started the engines, she went off,” he said. “They had no choice but to take her off. The horse comes first.”

Free as a Bird, a 5-year-old, was 15-1 on the morning line for the BC Turf Sprint. She is in the midst of her best season, having won six of eight starts, including five consecutive turf-sprint stakes for females at Belmont Park, Saratoga, and Keeneland since early May.

“I was looking forward to running her,” Wilkes said.

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Free as a Bird is owned by breeder Elizabeth Valando and has won 8 of 21 starts and $503,208 in her career.

The defection of Free as a Bird will allow Ageless, another 5-year-old mare, to join the field. Ageless, trained by Arnaud Delacour for Lael Stables, was second to Free as a Bird in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10.