Fresh from his record romp in the California Cup Sprint last month, Cost of Freedom is the 126-pound high weight for his return to graded stakes action in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) on Thanksgiving at Hollywood Park Nov. 25.
The Underwood, at six furlongs on Cushion Track, attracted a field of six. It is race 7 with a 2 p.m. PST post on the early Thanksgiving card that begins at 11 a.m.
Grade I winner Cost of Freedom looked like his former self in snapping a three-race losing streak with a front-running 6 1/4-length triumph in the Oct. 30 Cal Cup Sprint at Hollywood. Joe Talamo, who rode the California-bred 7-year-old Cee's Tizzy gelding for the first time, retains the mount for trainer John Sadler and owners Gary and Cecil Barber.
Cost of Freedom, a nine-time winner in 19 lifetime starts with earnings of $752,263, is likely to dictate the pace again from post 2.
E Z's Gentleman, who scored the biggest victory of his career in the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood in July, blew out three furlongs in :36 4/5 on the track Nov. 21 before trainer Bob Baffert entered him in the Underwood. Arnold Zetcher's 5-year-old son of Yankee Gentleman has raced twice since the Triple Bend, finishing third behind the victorious Smiling Tiger in both the Bing Crosby (gr. I) at Del Mar and Oak Tree's Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I). Cost of Freedom ran fourth in the Oct. 9 Ancient Title.
Aussie Raider's one-time Australian star Scenic Blast, now in the John Shirreffs stable, will try a synthetic track for just the second time in his 25-race career. The 6-year-old finished second on Del Mar's Polytrack in the Bing Crosby.
Scenic Blast, who has earned more than $1.4 million in his career, ran third in the Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood grass course last time out.
Jay em Ess Stable's Canonize finished sixth in his first start in nearly six months, the Oct. 8 Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, and the Ron Ellis trainee should appreciate the return to his home track.
Kinsale King, last year's Underwood winner, will skip the race this year. Trainer Carl O‘Callaghan has his globetrotting 5-year-old son of Yankee Victor pointed to the Hong Kong Sprint Dec. 12 instead.
$100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 2 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Canonize (KY), A Quinonez, 118, R W Ellis
2. Cost of Freedom (CA), J Talamo, 126, J W Sadler
3. Gato Go Win (FL), R Bejarano, 120, R Troeger
4. Square Deal (KY), P A Valenzuela, 120, K Mulhall
5. Scenic Blast (AUS), V Espinoza, 122, J A Shirreffs
6. E Z's Gentleman (KY), J Rosario, 124, B Baffert