front-running Cost of Freedom heads a solid, competitive field of seven
sprinters in Sunday's 65th running of the Grade I, $250,000 Bing Crosby Stakes
at 6 furlongs on the main track.
The John Sadler-trained Cost of Freedom
comes to the race from two straight wins in his only 2010 outings following a
heart-breaking third-place in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint where he was beaten
by two head bobs in a blanket finish at Santa Anita.
Taking the Crosby
won't be an easy matter, however, with Grade I Triple Bend winner E Z's
Gentleman, trained by Bob Baffert, in the race, as well as 2009 Australian
Horse of the Year Scenic Blast, now in the care of trainer John Shirreffs.
Riding Cost of Freedom for the first time
will be Rafael Bejarano, who subs for the injured Tyler Baze, who had ridden
the 7-year-old Cee's Tizzy gelding in eight straight races.
E Z's Gentleman will be reunited with his
Triple Bend rider Martin Pedroza for the Bing Crosby. The Triple Bend win for
Pedroza was his 1,000th at Hollywood
Park. E Z's Gentleman,
carrying high weight of 123 pounds, will leave from the rail in the Crosby while Cost of Freedom gets post position five.
In addition to Horse of the Year honors,
Scenic Blast also was named top Australian sprinter and earned International
performer honors for his victory in the Group I King's Stand Stakes at the
prestigious Royal Ascot race meet. Mike Smith has the call.
Cost of Freedom and Scenic Blast, making
his second start in the United
States, will carry 121 pounds.
Others in the field: Sky Cape,
with Joe Talamo; El Brujo, who gets Joel Rosario; My Summer Slew, with Alonso
Quinonez, and Smiling Tiger, with Victor Espinoza. All four are assigned 119