On Jan. 1, Cost of Freedom turns 11, a ripe old age for retirement, which is underway for the Grade I stakes winner of more than a million dollars. A happy ending is most deserving for Cost of Freedom, who, with John Sadler training, reached racing’s apex in 2008 when he won the Grade I Ancient Title Stakes, and was third, beaten only a head, in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Sadler lost Cost of Freedom via the claim for $32,000 in September of 2011.

Cost of Freedom hit rock bottom just eight days ago, on Dec. 21, when he finished 10th of 11 as the 17-10 favorite in an $8,000 claiming race at Hollywood Park. He was claimed from the race by trainer Robertino Diodoro.

“I claimed him, and I was going to continue to race him,” said Diodoro, who saddled Macias to a game, front-running victory in Friday’s fourth race at Santa Anita for owner Jim McFadyen of Alberta, Canada.

“Everyone assumed I was taking the horse to Phoenix (to campaign at Turf Paradise). That wasn’t the plan, although if some of my horses can’t succeed in California, I do run them at Turf Paradise.

“Some people criticize Phoenix, but I’ve had horses coming out of California that were done racing and they retire, go out to pasture, or go to Canada to be a chuckwagon horse.

“But running in Phoenix, some are reinvigorated, because it’s easier company. You don’t have to train as hard there.

“Anyway, after I claimed Cost of Freedom, my phone started ringing. I’m not on Facebook, but I started hearing a lot of stuff, and (Santa Anita head clocker) John Malone got a hold of me and wanted to put something together for Cost of Freedom’s retirement. He stepped up and purchased the horse (for $8,650, including taxes).”

Malone said Cost of Freedom is expected to arrive at his five-acre facility in Winchester, near Temecula, tomorrow.

“I’m happy to do what’s right for the horse, as who all involved are,” said Malone. “It’s the least we can do.”

“I just met John on Friday,” Diodoro continued. “He’s a super guy and deserves all the credit. Hat’s off to John. He’s been a class act, and it’s all about the horse.”

Sadler contributed $2,000 to help for Cost of Freedom’s retirement. “He was really a nice horse,’ Sadler said. “I’m happy to contribute.”

A son of Cee’z Tizzy-Freedom Dance bred in California by John Harris, Cost of Freedom won 16 races, was second 10 times and third seven in 47 starts. He earned $1,018,799.


“Water’s wet, the sky is blue and Kindle has lots of speed.”

Each is a given, and that’s how Gary Mandella summed up the running style of Kindle, the 5-year-old mare he trains for next Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes for fillies and mares at about 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course.

“She’s doing really well,” Mandella said of the daughter of Indian Charlie, who shows two seconds in two starts on Santa Anita’s unusual venue, beaten a half a length each time, once by Broken Dreams in the Grade III Sen. Ken Maddy in October of 2012 and once by two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection in the Monrovia a year ago. Each time Kindle held daylight leads into the stretch.

“She does have a lot of speed, but in a perfect world, I would love to think, as an older mare, she’d be able to sit off one or two (horses), because she did get nailed at the wire twice going down the hill,” Mandella said. “Her training to this point’s been very good.”

That would include a five furlong move on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Sunday morning in 1:00.80. “Very nice,” is how Mandella termed the drill. “We’re ready now.”

Probable for the Monrovia: Camryn Kate, Tyler Baze; Ciao Bella Luna, no rider; Kindle, Rafael Bejarano; Ponchatrain, Gary Stevens; Purim’s Dancer, Joe Talamo; and Sky High Gal, Corey Nakatani.


Winning races on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course at about 6 ½ furlongs is no big secret. Take it from Eddie Delahoussaye, the retired Hall of Fame jockey who has won scores of races on the venue over which horses take a right-hand turn from the grass, then cross over a patch of dirt before returning to the grass turning into the homestretch.

The course will be showcased in Sunday’s Grade II Monrovia stakes for fillies and mares, a race Delahoussaye won twice, in 1985 on Lina Cavalieri for owners Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and the late Bobby Frankel, and in 1998 aboard Madame Pandit for owner Janis Witham and trainer Ron McAnally.

“It’s just a matter of putting your horse in the right position when you’re making the right-hand turn,” said Delahoussaye, one of most popular riders of his generation and once and forever one of the most popular riders on the Southern California circuit.

“You could get pinned in pretty good making the right-hand turn. Some horses really love the course, and the ones that do, they just skip across the dirt when they come to it. Others will hesitate, then they’ll go over it, but the rider has to be prepared.”


Today’s fourth race, dubbed “Ted Di Nunzio’s 100th Birthday Celebration,” will honor the gregarious Di Nunzio, who works roughly a half mile from Santa Anita’s main track quarter pole as an official door greeter at Nordstrom’s Santa Anita, in the Westfield Shopping Mall.

Di Nunzio, who took the Nordstrom job at the tender age of 86, has been working at the store every week for the past 14 years and is admired by employees and customers, alike.

Asked often what his secret to living a long and happy life, Di Nunzio often replies, “Have faith, a positive attitude, smile and be nice to people. It’s nice to be nice.”

Di Nunzio also believes it is important to stay active and do something each day—which in his case, includes reading the daily newspaper and catching up on what is happening in horse racing at Santa Anita.

DiNunzio, who originally studied to be a meat cutter when he and his late wife, Ella moved to Burbank from Providence, Rhode Island in December, 1949, will be front and center in the Winner’s Circle following today’s fourth race.

Viva La Ted!!

FINISH LINES: Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude worked four furlongs under regular rider Mike Smith on Santa Anita’s main track Sunday in 47.40. Asked if defense of his Big Cap victory was on the agenda, Bob Baffert said, “We just want to have fun with him and run him when he’s ready.” Baffert plans to enter both Awesome Baby and impressive maiden winner Crushed Velvet in next Saturday’s Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs. Taste Like Candy, second in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet last out, also is expected to enter for Jerry Hollendorfer. Rafael Bejarano retains the mount . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Slim Shadey worked five furlongs on the main track in 59.80 for Simon Callaghan, who plans to enter the English-bred son of 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal in next Saturday’s Grade II San Gabriel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Corey Nakatani rides . . . Private Zone, winner of the Grade I Vosburgh Invitational and most recently second in the Grade I Cigar Mile on Nov. 30, went four furlongs for Doug O’Neill in 47 flat with regular rider Martin Pedroza up… Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and likely Eclipse Award winner as top 3-year-old filly Beholder was scheduled to be picked up from Peacefield Farm in Temecula today by Julie Adair-Stack. “She’ll ride her for a couple weeks (at her farm in Chino), get her started a little, then we’ll bring Beholder to Santa Anita,” trainer Richard Mandella said . . . Santa Anita starts the New Year in bargain mode, offering beers, sodas and hot dogs for one dollar on New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1. First post time is 12:30 p.m. Santa Anita is dark Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 30 and 31 . . . Fans listening to Trevor Denman’s finish of Saturday’s sixth race had to look twice and check their programs when he called, “. . . and Number Five finished fourth.” A glance at the program quickly revealed that the No. 5 horse, Texas Ryno, had been scratched early on. But upon further review, the horse that did run fourth, No. 9, was indeed named “Number Five.” Sired by 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given, Number Five’s dam is My Chanel, named for the world famous perfume, “Chanel No. 5,” created by Coco Chanel in 1922, but still popular today.