02/03/2010 12:00AM

Freaky prompts a racing rarity


Favorites do not get much more lopsided than the Quarter Horse Freaky was in a division of the Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials last Saturday.

Freaky, the 2009 World Champion, was so heavily backed to win the last of three trials on Saturday that there was a minus win pool of $67, which is almost unheard of in win betting.

Minus pools occur when a horse is so heavily bet that after state taxes and commissions are deducted there is insufficient money remaining in the pool to pay out the minimum $2.10 to all winning bettors. When that occurs, racetracks make up the shortfall, which in this case was $67.

Minus pools are more common in show betting and, occasionally, place betting, and can sometimes reach $100,000 or more for show bets.

Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, created minus win pools of $3,382 with her win in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park last spring and $18,698 in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park last summer.

Freaky is the one Quarter Horse who could generate enough support to cause a minus win pool. Owned by Armando Aguirre and trained by Adan Farias, Freaky won his sixth consecutive race in the Winter Championship trials. The race was his first since a half-length win in the Champion of Champions on Dec. 12, the season-ending stakes that is the leading race for older horses in the nation.

Ridden by Francisco Rubio, Freaky set the fastest 400-yard qualifying time of 19.31 seconds in the time trials. Freaky overcame a stumble and a severe bump with a rival at the start to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

"I had to fight just to stay on," Rubio said. "I was worried about pushing at that point. I knew that once he got going, he was going to take off. Right now, I know that if I can hang on to him, we'll win the race."

Freaky will be an overwhelming favorite in the $228,450 final on Feb. 20.

Bloke, who won the second division in 19.45 seconds, is the second-fastest qualifier for the 10-horse final. Jess You and I, who won the 2008 Champion of Champions and was eighth in the race last year, won the first division of the trials in 19.58 seconds, the third-fastest qualifying time.

The winner of the Winter Championship receives an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions in December.