Updated on 09/15/2011 12:17PM

Freespool a favorite by omission

Benoit & Associates
If Caller One scratches as expected from the Los Angeles Cap, Freespool (above) may be long gone.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A strong field of seven sprinters was entered in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap, to be run Sunday at Hollywood Park. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to run.

Early favorite Caller One is likely to scratch and ship to Texas for the $100,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint on Monday, and the improving Lake William also will scratch in favor of the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile on Monday. Those defections leave wickedly fast Freespool as the solid favorite against California-bred stakes winners Gibson County and Stormy Jack, allowance runner Rapidough, and French import Mateka, who is making his United States debut.

Trainer Jim Chapman has been on the fence all week regarding Caller One, winner of a $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen last out. While confident Caller One would win the Los Angeles, Chapman sees little purpose in subjecting the gelding to unnecessary punishment in the form of a speed duel with Freespool for a purse of $100,000.

"I'm not worried about beating [Freespool], I just don't want my horse to run that hard up the backside," Chapman said. "I'd rather not hook that horse. I don't want him to go in 43 and change, and that's what those horses are going to do. For $100,000, it doesn't need to be a hard race. In Texas, Caller One will be in an open gallop all the way, and win by 10."

Chapman said he would postpone a final decision until late Friday, but when Caller One drew the inside post for the Los Angeles, the choice seemed obvious. As for Lake William, winner of the Grade 3 San Simeon last out, trainer Richard Mandella intends to run him in the Shoemaker. He only entered the Los Angeles "to keep his options open."

There has been no indecision regarding Freespool, trained by Ted H. West. "We've been pointing for this race since the first of the year," he said. "It works out timing-wise and it's nice to keep him local."

Freespool won at Bay Meadows and Turf Paradise in his last two starts, and for the first time has put together a successful multi-race campaign. An eight-time winner from 19 starts, Freespool seems to be a better horse this year.

"I think he is, and I think I'm a better trainer," West said. "He's kind of an unusual horse. He's so intense in everything he does, and we've tailored a training schedule for him."

Regardless of who else starts in the Los Angeles, Freespool will have the lead. Said West: "No horse has been able to go with our horse and keep going."