10/20/2010 12:51PM

Freaky gets job done in warmup for Champion of Champions


Freaky’s win in the $150,000 Los Alamitos Championship last Saturday was not as fast or as flashy as his win in the same race in 2009, but the performance was quick enough and good enough to confirm his status as the leading older Quarter Horse in the nation.

Freaky had a seven-race winning streak end with a second-place finish to A Tempting Dash in the Go Man Go Handicap on Sept. 10, Freaky’s first start since February. The win in the Los Alamitos Championship indicated that the 5-year-old gelding needed a warmup race to return to top form.

Ridden by Francisco Rubio, Freaky ran 440 yards in 20.979 seconds, the third-fastest clocking at the distance in track history. The time is even more impressive considering that Freaky stumbled at the start and recovered to beat Stylish Jess Br.

“He stumbled at the start and he got pushed leaving there, otherwise he breaks the track record,” said trainer Adan Farias. “I knew the horse would run this way.”

In the 2009 Los Alamitos Championship, Freaky was timed in 20.962 seconds, the second-fastest 440 yards in track history. Jess You and I holds the track record of 20.944 seconds set in the 2008 Champion of Champions.

Owned by Armando Aguirre, Freaky won the 2009 Champion of Champions, a victory that clinched his title as the 2009 Quarter Horse World Champion. He will be favored in the same race on Dec. 11.

“I think he’ll be better in the Champion of Champions,” Farias said after the Los Alamitos Championship. “Usually I’m nervous before his races, but tonight I was feeling very confident. I used to worry about his winning streak, but tonight there wasn’t any pressure and all we cared about was seeing the horse run like we know he can run.”

The Champion of Champions field consists of horses who win major stakes through the year, primarily at Los Alamitos. In most years, a few berths are declined, leaving spots available in time trials, which this year are on Nov. 19.

Aside from Freaky, who has won 12 of 27 starts and $833,444, the other qualifiers to the 2010 Champion of Champions are A Tempting Dash, Blues Man Too, Double Down Special, Jess You and I, Merridoc Hawk, and Spit Curl Diva. A Tempting Dash gained a spot after Freaky’s win in the Los Alamitos Championship. Freaky won the Winter Championship last February at Los Alamitos, a race that also carried an automatic berth.

The conditions of the Champion of Champions state that if a horse wins two qualifying races, then the Go Man Go winner would earn a berth. The winner of the Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 6, and the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Fair Grounds on Nov. 19 also receive automatic berths.