Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Cost of Freedom - Is he running to his death?

Cost of Freedom 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
After 75 years of some of the best racing in America, nobody wanted to see Hollywood Park close. Knowing this weekend will be its last, they should have put on a show to be remembered by. Going out with a bang, given fans one last good memory of them. Instead, as fans watch a 10 year old, ex-Breeders’ Cup Sprint contender, earner of over 1 million dollars, Cost of Freedom, struggle home in an $8,000 claimer, all they may feel is infuriated.
Have we not seen enough of this? Have we not see enough horses who were once at racing’s highest level, disappear from the radar, only to resurface in the bottle level claimers? Have we not seen enough of our stars be pushed to the breaking point, because there are connections out there so low, so desperate, that they will push a once proud and regal animal to its death, all to get a few more bucks? I for one, have.
Tell me, how is it ok, for tracks to allow connections to do this? We have seen this many times this year already…..Can anyone say Monzante? How many times did he change hands before his legs finally gave way and he was given the needle that ended his suffering?
I realize there are thousands of horses in the game, but hardcore fans watch just as many races, if not more than large tracks, who only need to keep an eye on the horses partaking at their events. Is it really that hard to pick up on a name like Cost of Freedom, who was a grade one performer, who is now dropped in for a tag of 8k? Is it really that difficult to see a horse that was a grade one winner at 5 years old, racing in the sports lowliest of races at age 10? 
In a game that used to be so beautiful, held in such high esteem that it was deemed The Sport of Kings, we have let corruption and greed tear it down to the point that people, even longtime fans are turning their backs. They are turning their back in disgust, because of things like this. They simply cannot believe that instances like this are allowed to happen, with no consequence. So, instead of watching the madness continue, they walk away, unable to bear watching their once proud stars fade into oblivion.
Commentators on TVG and HRTV, called Cost to Freedom something good. That seeing “old veterans” like him, out on the track is good. Yes, when the old veterans are competing at the same level they always have, with the same vim and vigor that they had when they were three years old. Horses like Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Ron the Greek, and Game on Dude, THOSE are the horses that are good for the sport. They are what the sport should be proud of. What is happening to Cost of Freedom is nothing like that, and should NOT be sugar coated. It can’t be sugar coated. It is a crappy situation, and I’m sorry HRTV and TVG, but you simply cannot sugar coat crap.
What should have been done, is that somebody should have noticed it and called it out. They should have said something about it. Would have been bad for racing, yes, but if this horse breaks down the outcry that will reach the press will be far worse, than if somebody on air spoke up right now to get this situation some notification. That way, instead of meeting the needle while lying, in pain, in the dirt, of some off the radar track, Cost of Freedom can be retired to greener pastures. That way situations like these don’t go unnoticed or unpunished.
Our stars need protection from the greed and corruption that has torn this game apart. Starting with Cost of Freedom, we can help try to end this. Now, who else is willing to stand up, with me? Who is willing to raise their voice, to be heard, to not just help Cost of Freedom, but those like him? Stand up with me, and shout to the powers that be……THIS HAS TO STOP!


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Older Comments about Cost of Freedom - Is he running to his death?...

Such a great Christmas present for all! Congratulations to all who helped in this effort by either donating or spreading the word. Especially to Carl O'Callaghan and John Malone, along with John Sadler....
Great news Brian and thank you for posting. To Dead Heat. Keep up the good work in bringing these situations to light and writing about them. Your good work paid off for a safe and Merry Xmas for this old campaigner.
thank goodness. i was looking for this news & about to start griping about him not being retired. Merry Christmas to COF!
Fantastic news Brian! Merry Christmas Cost of Freedom!
Cost of Freedom has been officially retired ... Well done, Carl O' Callaghan, John Malone, and all that helped make this happen!
I say AMEN to this !!!!!!!
Good job Laura!
Precisely right, bp.
Thank you God!
This is one of the great benefits of social media. The word gets out very quickly and ex owners and trainers don't want to get caught in a pr firestorm.
Update from a few minutes ago from Carl O'Callahan "Update on cost of freedom All of u friends on here have been amazing and thk u , also trainer Peter miller, John Sadler and owners Cecil and Gary barber are stepping up it will get done just may take a day or so to get all funds in place."
A paypal fund has been set up for his purchase. costoffreedomfund@yahoo.com...if you want to help this warrior towards his retirement plese make a private contribution. Carl O'Callahan set up the account yesterday for this purpose. And $4000 has already been contributed. COF has a safe place to land with trainer John Malone at his ranch in CA. If you care please make a contribution to his fund. All the money raised will go towards his purchase. Thank you All.
I have posted this before: it is ironic that the foal crop is too small to guarantee full fields for many tracks, but too large to guarantee a good retirement for the horses. There needs to be a breeding or registration fee that goes just to horse retirement. In my opinion, the abuse and slaughter of our equine athletes is one of the main reasons for the decline of the sport.
I agree totally, but we need to start looking in to restrictions on breeding race horses. there are too many horses and not enough green pastures for all of them.
He should definitely be retired. Where is the breeder? Why do people have to try to get one last nickel out of these good horses?
I definitely agree,these proud animals will continue to do their best,wherever they are put,until that dreaded day comes! Please retire these great animals,instead of keep dropping them in the claimers...
I thought the Barbers and John Sadler were better than that. Sorry I was wrong.
he should be retired and live the rest of his live running in a green pasture
I'm pretty done with the Barbers. This isn't the first horse they have completely failed to provide any after racing care for.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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