Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker’s Corner Oct. 18 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I).
With Dana Barnes in the saddle, Cost of Freedom worked a half-mile at Santa Anita in :59.40. Trainer John Sadler said that the 5-year-old gelded son of Cee's Tizzy—Freedom Dance, by Moscow Ballet, galloped out in 1:12 4/5.
“He’s one of those horses that likes these synthetic surfaces,” said Sadler. “Some horses just jump up and move forward on them.”
Barnes, who has exercised such horses as Horse of the Year Point Given and champions Silver Charm and Real Quiet, said that Cost of Freedom’s attitude has changed since he won the Sept. 27 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I).
“Ever since he won that race, he thinks he’s so good,” said Barnes, who began working regularly for Sadler this past summer.
Gary Barber found Cost of Freedom in a July 28 claiming race at Del Mar. Bred in California by Harris Farms, Cost of Freedom has won six of 10 career starts and earned $344,152. He missed all of the 2007 season and before making his 2008 debut with a March 2 victory, he had not raced since Aug. 30, 2006.
Though his day job as co-chairman and CEO of Spyglass Entertainment keeps him plenty busy, he spends the early hours of the morning poring over charts and figures in the search for a good horse. That diligence put the Barbers on top of the 2008 Del Mar owner standings, and they also lead at the current Oak Tree meet.
“Cost of Freedom had a spotty race record because he had so many breaks in between—clearly he had some issues,” Gary said. “But we took a gamble.”
Cecil, who runs a property management company when he isn’t conferring with his brother on claims, chuckled and added, “We’re known to gamble.”
Originally, one of the reasons the Barbers claimed Cost of Freedom was because as a California-bred he could run for state-bred purse money, including the California Cup. That’s where he was headed until he broke a track record at Del Mar, running six furlongs in 1:08.29, a mark that still stands. It was faster than Street Boss had won the Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I), also at Del Mar.
Instead of prepping for the Cal Cup in the Pirate’s Bounty Stakes at Del Mar, the Barbers and Sadler entered him in the Ancient Title.
“We thought, ‘Wow, we should take a shot,’ ” Gary Barber said. “And it was Win and You’re In.”
The Barbers have never had a Breeders’ Cup starter, and this year they have two, both claims. In addition to Cost of Freedom in the Sprint, they are running Zappa in the Marathon. A $32,000 claim, Zappa since has won the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita and the Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.
“We’ve got it covered—from the Sprint to the Marathon,” Gary Barber said.
They plan to celebrate by bringing out a large contingent of friends.
“We’re just happy to be in the race,” Gary said.