07/06/2011 12:42PM

Los Alamitos: Freaky rebounds in roughly run race

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Freaky, the 2009 World Champion, won for the first time at Los Alamitos since January in Sunday’s $25,000 Independence Day Handicap, a race that may be better remembered for how roughly it was run that the stature of the winner.

All six runners in the 300-yard race encountered significant trouble. Freaky was bumped twice at the start, but overcame those incidents to win by a neck over Pappyscoronalilbro, who lugged toward the rail in deep stretch or might have finished closer.

For Freaky, a 6-year-old gelding, the victory will serve as a prep for an expected start in the $100,000 Spencer Childers Handicap or $25,000 California Breeders’ Sprint Stakes on July 30, California Breeders Champions Night.

Freaky won the 2009 Spencer Childers in a streak of five consecutive wins that year that clinched his World Champion title. Last year, he won 3 of 5 starts, but a sixth in the Champion of Champions kept Freaky from defending his World Champion title.

This year, much has changed. Freaky was trained by Adan Farias from March 2009 until February of this year, when owner Armando Aguirre decided he wanted to “try something different with the horse.”

The change was made following Freaky’s sixth-place finish in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February.

A winner of 14 of 32 starts and $907,472, Freaky finished fourth in the Grade 1 Remington Park Championship in Oklahoma for Concepcion Balderrama on May 28 and made his first start for trainer Mario Loza in the Independence Day Handicap.

Loza has five wins from 62 starters this year. Freaky is his lone stakes winner. Jockey Eduardo Nicasio rode Freaky for the first time in the Independence Day Handicap.

Aguirre has not chosen a July 30 race for Freaky. Reflective of the purse, the Childers tends to draw a strong field of older horses. Freaky’s presence in that race would indicate that the gelding is capable of racing at the highest level in the second half of 2011.

“Freaky is ready to battle again,” Aguirre said in the winner’s circle. “He got hit again like in some of his recent starts, but he kept on going and caught the outside horse that was looking very tough to beat.”

Whether Freaky is back to his 2009 form, and will also be tough to beat, may be known later this month.