12/16/2009 12:00AM

Freaky's planned vacation gets shortened


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - A stable without Freaky is hard for trainer Adan Farias to imagine.

In the moments after Freaky clinched the 2009 Quarter Horse World Champion title with a victory in last Saturday's $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos, Farias said the 4-year-old gelding would be rested through the spring and summer and would return to racing next September.

By Sunday evening, moments before the stable won the Southern California Derby with Hulapai, Farias had amended his plans. Freaky, owned by Armando Aguirre, is likely to start his 2010 campaign in late spring, with the Vessels Maturity in June as his first major target.

If that is the plan, then Freaky may have a 2010 schedule exactly like his 2009 season, when he won the Vessels Maturity, Spencer Childers Championship, Los Alamitos Championship, and Champion of Champions to secure his championship.

Rival horsemen would prefer that Freaky stay off the track as long as possible. He won the 440-yard Champion of Champions by a half-length, the narrowest margin of his four major stakes wins in 2009.

"He didn't get the best start and he had to run hard," Farias said.

Racing over a wet-fast track (yes, Los Alamitos still races on dirt), may have hampered his performance, Farias said after the race. It seemed to take half of the race before Freaky found his best stride and reached the front.

Freaky won 6 of 8 starts in 2009, rising to the top of the Quarter Horse game.

"I feel like we accomplished everything we wanted - and more," Farias said.

Big purses for bottom-rung claimers

Los Alamitos has raised the purses of its $5,000 claiming races for Thoroughbreds to $15,000 for the winter portion of its meeting, from Dec. 26 through the end of March.

Previously, such horses ran for $10,000. The track is limited by 1993 legislation to running Thoroughbreds up to 4 1/2 furlongs. Los Alamitos is reliant on cheap Thoroughbreds in the early months of the year to fill races before the 2-year-old Quarter Horses have begun racing.

This weekend, the track is running a $30,000 stakes for $5,000 claimers, and a $15,000 stakes for female $5,000 claimers.