10/14/2010 12:40PM

Freaky has unlikely fan


In an odd twist, rival trainer Jose Antonio Flores will be rooting for the reigning Quarter Horse World Champion, Freaky, to defend his title in the $150,000 Los Alamitos Championship on Saturday night.

Flores does not have a runner in the Grade 1 race, deciding to skip the 440-yard championship with A Tempting Dash, who upset Freaky in the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap at Los Alamitos on Sept. 11.

But if Freaky wins the Los Alamitos Championship, A Tempting Dash will receive an automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 11, the season-ending goal for Flores.

The winner of the Go Man Go Handicap earns a berth to the Champion of Champions if another horse wins two major races during the year that offer automatic berths. Freaky already qualified for the Champion of Champions by winning the Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February. Another berth is available in Saturday’s Los Alamitos Championship.

“We’re hoping a slot gets open and he can get in for winning the Go Man Go,” Flores said. “We had a little setback with him. He’s better now, but it was too close to the Los Alamitos Championship” for a start.

A Tempting Dash’s absence denies the Los Alamitos Championship a matchup of the first two finishers of the Go Man Go Handicap. Consequently, Freaky will be heavily favored on Saturday.

Owned by Armando Aguirre and trained by Adan Farias, Freaky had a seven-race winning streak end in the Go Man Go, when he finished a half-length behind A Tempting Dash as the 1-5 favorite. The Go Man Go Handicap was Freaky’s first start since the Winter Championship.

After the race, Farias said Freaky would benefit from the race.

“Freaky needed this race after his layoff,” Farias said. “We are not in bad shape at all. [Jockey] Francisco Rubio said he tried hard before getting tired at the end.”

The Los Alamitos Championship features one other reigning champion in Stylish Jess Br, the champion aged mare of 2009. She won the Charger Bar Handicap earlier this year.

Other starters include Fire Is On, Frankie Shoots, and A Mere Splash, who were third through fifth in the Go Man Go, and Hulapai, the winner of the 2009 Southern California Derby.