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World champion Freaky chases second straight Champion of Champions win on Saturday


December 10, 2010     E-mail this page to a friend!

Francisco Rubio rides Freaky to the winner's circle after winning the Robert L Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 16.
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
Armando Aguirre's Freaky, the "Big Daddy" of Quarter Horse racing at the moment, looks to become the first repeat winner of the Champion of Champions since the great SLM Big Daddy in 1998, while also aiming to be the first 5-year-old to win this race since SLM Big Daddy in '98. In the 38-year history of the Champion of Champions, five horses have won the race at the age of five, while four won at the age of six.

When it comes to the sensational Freaky, age is really nothing but a number. The reigning World Champion looked tremendous when he recovered from a stumble at the start of the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship in his last outing on October 16, proof that he is still running at the top of his game even now that he is five. The gelded son of TR Dasher has won eight of his last nine starts, and a victory in this race—first place is worth $375,000—will likely earn him his second straight world champion title and would take his career earnings over the $1 million mark to $1,213,444. Adan Farias will saddle Freaky, who will be ridden by leading Los Alamitos Quarter Horse jockey Francisco Rubio from post three.

Adan Farias would love to see his old boy score in the Champion of Champions. It would complete what has already been a great week for the leading trainer at Los Alamitos. “My wife delivered a beautiful baby girl on Monday,” Farias said. “I’ve been on cloud nine thanks to my daughter. It would be a dream to see Freaky win the Champion of Champions again.”

The invader Feature Jess Rockin is also 5-years-old and as a mare, she’ll be looking to become the first aged mare to win the prestigious 440-yard Champion of Champions since Dash For Speed in 1990. Trained by Heath Reed for Reed Land and Cattle Company, the daughter of Feature Mr Jess has won three times at 440-yards this season, so her affinity for this distance makes her very dangerous in this race. Jacky Martin, who rode SLM Big Daddy to his Champion of Champions wins in 1997 and 1998, will ride Feature Jess Rockin.

Jess You And I, who won the 2008 Champion of Champions when he was 4-years-old in track record time of :20.94, will now try to win this race at the ripe age of six. Owned by Double Bar S Ranch, Jess You And I has enjoyed an illustrious career, as his resume includes victories in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity at the age of two to go along with two Go Man Go Handicap wins, and wins in the 2009 Los Alamitos Winter Championship and in this year’s Remington Park Championship. A victory in this year’s Champion of Champions would make him only the second horse to win this race twice in non-consecutive years. Tailor Fit won the 1999 running at the age of four and then the 2001 running at the age of six. He is also the last 6-year-old to win the Champion of Champions. Jess You And I could also become the fourth richest Quarter Horse of all-time with a victory in this race.

In past years, it’s been the kids that have enjoyed the Champion of Champions. Three-year-olds have won the race 15 times, while 4-year-olds have won the event 14 times. Rancho El Cabresto Inc’s Apollitical Jess is one of the 3-year-olds with hopes to score in the Champion of Champions. The son of Mr Jess Perry has been nothing short of amazing in his last two outings, including winning the $1,052,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby in a 400 yard time of :19.13 that toppled Freaky’s previous track record at the distance. Already a millionaire, Apollitical Time will start from post number one, a spot that trainer Juan Aleman chose during the special post position selection show Wednesday on TVG. “One of his best races came from post number one in a trial to the Super Derby,” Aleman said. “I hope he can do it again.”

The other 3-year-olds are Golden State Derby winner Good Reason SA and Abigail Kawananakoa’s 350-yard track record holder Divide The Cash, who won the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial, ran second in the Super Derby and fourth in the Golden State. Divide The Cash was previously trained by the legendary Blane Schvaneveldt before he passed away in July. Schvaneveldt has saddled a record nine Champion of Champions winners.

“Dad called Abigail and said we need to pay the money and get this horse in the Super Derby,” said Blane’s daughter, Shonna Smith. “She questioned it and he insisted that the horse was one of the best he had ever had and his goal was to get him into the Champion Of Champions. It was his goal to get the horse into the Champion of Champions and then he passed away far too soon. The last time he was in the hospital in May he insisted on being released and in fact checked himself out because he was worried about not being at the track with this horse. So to all of us this race really means a lot. (He is) in the Champion of Champions which is what Dad was aiming for months ago.”

The 4-year-olds in this race are A Tempting Dash, the only horse to outrun Freaky since April of ‘09, Spit Curl Diva, one of 2010’s most accomplished horses in the nation, Merridoc Hawk, the winner of a meet’s best five stakes races this year, and Vessels Maturity winner Blues Man Too, a three-quarter brother of 2007 Champion of Champions winner Blue Girl Too.