11/11/2009 1:00AM

Jones, Farias loaded in Champions event


Trainers Paul Jones and Adan Farias will start at least half of the 10 horses in the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 12 and could have more than that after time trials are run for the nation's most important race for older Quarter Horses later this month.

Jones gained his third starter for the 440-yard Champion of Champions last weekend when Foose won the second seven-figure race of his career, the $1 million Super Derby. The champion 2-year-old colt of 2008, Foose is one of two 3-year-olds who have qualified for the Champion of Champions, joined by the Jones-trained Inseparable, who won the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in September. Jones also trains Separate Bet, winner of the Remington Park Championship earlier this year.

None of them will have an easy time against the star older male Freaky, Jones admits.

"It will be hard to run against Freaky, but we'll take our chances," Jones said.

Foose, co-owned by Jones and Los Alamitos track owner Ed Allred, ran one of his best races in the Super Derby, winning by a half-length and finishing 400 yards in 19.45 seconds. The Champion of Champions, which annually plays a major role in deciding the Quarter Horse World Champion, will be his first start at 440 yards. "I don't think the extra 40 yards in the Champion of Champions will bother him," Jones said.

Farias trains Freaky, the winner of three consecutive Grade 1 stakes this year at Los Alamitos, and Champion of Champions qualifier Fighter on Fire, the winner of the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on Oct. 31.

Eight of the 10 berths have been finalized. The other horses to qualify are defending champion Jess You and I; Terrific Energy, who won the Millie Vessels Handicap in September; and Streakin Cherry, winner of the Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park on Oct. 3.

The remaining two spots will be determined in time trials Nov. 20, and Farias and Jones will have a say in those. Farias plans to start Little Bit of Baja, who was second to Fighter on Fire in the Challenge Championship. Jones may run the mare Stylish Jess Br, who won Distaff Challenge Championship on Oct. 31 and was seventh in the 2008 Champion of Champions.

If they qualify, their best chances in the Champion of Champions will be if Freaky has a bad night.

"That's what I'll be hoping," Jones said.