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Liberty Forever wins as also eligible

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Perhaps the biggest challenge for San Luis Rey Training Center gelding Liberty Forever winning the third race Aug. 18 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was being entered in the race.

In horse racing, "also eligible" is the term used for an alternate who can be in the race if one of the horses in a full field is scratched. When Silent Heat was scratched for veterinary reasons, Liberty Forever gained entry into the five-furlong race for California-bred horses 3 years old and upward who had never won a race. Liberty Forever and jockey Florent Geroux led throughout.

"Horse ran well," said trainer Peter Miller.

Had a scratch not occurred, Liberty Forever likely would have run at Del Mar the following weekend.

Liberty Forever and Geroux had the eighth post position. They broke first. After 3/16 of a mile they had a two-length lead on second place Let's Acclimate. The first quarter of a mile took Liberty Forever 23.29 seconds.

Let's Acclimate closed the gap to one length when the horses had covered 3/8 of a mile, but Liberty Forever regained a two-length lead by the start of the stretch. Liberty Forever covered the first half-mile in 45.93 seconds.

Offlee Icy overtook Let's Acclimate in the stretch. Liberty Forever finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Offlee Icy and had a winning time of 57.34 seconds.

The race was the first for Liberty Forever since he finished second Jan. 1 at Santa Anita Park. In his three 2021 races, he finished third Oct. 11 at Santa Anita, ninth Nov. 5 at Del Mar, and second Nov. 21 at Del Mar. Miller believes that the easy lead Aug. 18 was the difference between Liberty Forever's win and his previous races.

Liberty Forever was sired by Dixie Chatter out of Back Seat Roll. He was foaled on April 23, 2019. The $48,000 first-place share of the total $80,000 purse Aug. 18 brought Liberty Forever's career earnings to $83,220.

Miller believes that Liberty Forever came out of the race well. He will be seeking an allowance race for California-bred horses as Liberty Forever's next race.


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