Lots of turf pedigrees from legendary grass barns in Saturday’s finale in Oldsmar but even if Chad Brown has one in that has drawn the pole and Antonio Gallardo, we’re going to opt out on Finding Freedom (5-2) and into Common Bond (6-1) who ran well when third on debut.
We’re not sure about what we saw and there was no mention of anything regarding the start except that the gray colt was off poorly. But we’re not sure it was that or perhaps he outbroke himself and got away from his rider early on. Check out the Tampa Bay Today video for Race 7, FEB 28 and you make the call.
What is apparent is that, breaking from the pole, he hopped in the air at the start, not badly, but in the process caused Hector Diaz to lose control momentarily because–and we’re guessing a bit here–the saddle might have slipped.
What we know for certain is Diaz did a good job getting him to not run off while standing tall in the saddle into the lower first turn. It could not have been a great situation for the horse or rider. But now he has experience, shifts outside and switches to new rider Tomas Mejia who is 1-for-1 for this outfit at the meet.
And that barn, Michael Stidham’s, is 20% effective with horses making their second turf start and 23% with second-time starters overall. Since his debut, Common Bond has come back with two sharp drills, his last a bullet half mile. The gelding’s only sibling to race won, and that score came on the grass.
We’re happy to take half the early line odds to win, that’s 3-1 or greater, and also an exacta box with Finding Freedom.