10/24/2008 11:00PM

Vets scratch Cost of Freedom from Sprint

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Cost of Freedom was scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint after failing to pass the standard prerace examination conducted by a team of four veterinarians early Saturday morning at Santa Anita.

Cost of Freedom, who was claimed by trainer John Sadler for owners Gary and Cecil Barber for $50,000 on July 28, would have been among the favorites in the Sprint coming off his victory here last month in the Grade 1 Ancient Title.

“They examined the horse this morning and didn’t like what they saw,” said Sadler. “Cost of Freedom has his little idiosyncrasies, but to me the horse is the same as he’s always been on the morning of his races. What’s most frustrating is that I’ve been a trainer for 30 years and run over 1,000 winners on this circuit and I have absolutely no say in the matter. My own veterinarian, Dr. Vince Baker, staked his reputation that this horse was more than sound enough to run but it made no difference. Needless to say, I have some really unhappy owners right now.”

Tom Ward, a steward representing the California Horse Racing Board, said the decision to scratch Cost of Freedom on Saturday was unanimous.

“I don’t know the horse’s specific problem, but four veterinarians examined him and all agreed he should not be allowed to run,” said Ward.

Ward said the team that examined Cost of Freedom included the California Horse Racing Board veterinarian, Tim Connor, a second veterinarian representing Oak Tree, Jill Bailey, and two more independent veterinarians employed by Breeders’ Cup Ltd.

“Obviously we never like to scratch a horse out of the Breeders’ Cup, but in this case we were acting strictly in the best interests of the horse,” said Ward.