07/28/2009 11:00PM

Freaky earns vacation until fall


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - From the Freaky to the poignant to the remarkable, the major stakes winners at Los Alamitos last Saturday offered a preview for the lucrative Quarter Horse stakes in the second half of the year.

Freaky won his third stakes of 2009 in Saturday's $98,500 Spencer Childers Memorial Championship, enhancing his status as the leading contender for the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 12.

"You won't see him again until the Los Alamitos Championship" on Oct. 10, trainer Adan Farias said. "I want to do the right thing by the horse. He's sound and healthy."

Since being acquired privately during the winter, Freaky has won two stakes for Armando Aguirre. In his last three starts, he has recorded the three fastest 400-yard times in Los Alamitos history. He won a division of the Vessels Maturity trials in May in track record time of 19.17 seconds, reset the mark by winning the final in 19.15 seconds and was timed in 19.19 seconds in the Childers Memorial. He set the 350-yard track record of 17.14 seconds in an allowance race in March.

Freaky's win came at the expense of Separate Bet, who had won three stakes at Remington Park in winter and spring. Separate Bet broke poorly in the Childers and finished fifth.

The Childers was named for the legendary owner-breeder who died in early July at age 97. Childers was an active owner until his death, and his estate won Saturday's $426,000 Governor's Cup Futurity with the highly-promising Peace Fire.

The filly was bred by Childers and is a half-sister to Be a Bono, the 2004 Quarter Horse World Champion.

"My grandfather would be so proud," said his grandson, David Muzio, 45. "To be here tonight is spectacular."

Peace Fire has earned $185,777 by winning 3 of 5 starts. She has won her last three starts and will be part of a smaller Childers Ranch that will be operated by Childers's daughter and grandchildren.

"I wish Spencer could be here to enjoy this right now," trainer Dan Francisco said with emotion in his voice in the winner's circle. "He would have loved it."

Francisco said Peace Fire is nominated to the Golden State Million Futurity in November and the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in December, and may not start again until the fall.

Hard Hitting, the 2008 Governor's Cup Futurity winner, ended a four-race losing streak with a 32-1 upset in the $208,000 Governor's Cup Derby.

Trainer Chuck Treece attributed the colt's turnaround to a breathing operation in which a flap of skin was removed through a laser procedure. Treece said Hard Hitting will be pointed for the Grade 1 Golden State Derby in August.

"The old Hard Hitting is back," Treece said.