LARC NEWS Posted: 4/10/2016 12:25:07 AM

      Facing a strong field that included the stakes placed runners Luv On The Run and Obi Juan Kanobi and Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes runner-up Flay, J. Freakish surprised even his connections with his solid victory in the $20,000 James Smith Memorial Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

“He surprised me,” said trainer Lindolfo Diaz. “I knew he was doing good, but honestly I didn’t think he was going to win. I thought if we run third I’ll be happy. He broke like a shot and they just couldn’t catch him.”

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, the 9-1 longshot Freakish started from the inside post and took the lead right from the start. He had a ¾ length advantage early on and from there held off the fast closing Flay to win by a neck. Scoring his fourth win in 12 career starts, Freakish covered the 350 yards in :17.589. This was Freakish’s second win since being claimed by Diaz for his father, J. Francisco Diaz.

“I got him on a two way shake for $16,000 and he’s run his heart out for us,” Diaz added. “I got him paid up for the Southern California Derby and I’ll probably run him on California Breeders Champions Night. This horse has been good luck for us.”

Bred by Ed Allred, the Stel Corona gelding Freakish earned $11,000 for winning the James Smith. He raised his career earnings to $38,180. Freakish is also out of PCHRA Breeders Derby finalist Chickafirst and from the family of World Champion Freaky and stakes winners Hard Hitting, Hot Hitter and Lassen County.

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Flay earned $4,500 for running second. Trained and bred by Jones, the colt by Favorite Cartel has finished first or second in all five career starts. Oscar Peinado piloted Flay. C.K. and Laurel Allen’s Strawfinders Jessee finished third and was followed by Coach Carter, Apollitical Gamble, Obi Juan Kanobi and Luv On The Run.

This race is named in honor of the late James Smith, a longtime racing executive at Los Alamitos and a driving force in bringing Thoroughbred racing to the nighttime cards at the Orange County oval.

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There were three more juvenile winners crowned on Saturday night. The fastest freshman winner of the night was Whata Corona, a colt by Corona Cartel owned by the partnership of Bailey, Bradbury, Cook, Harrel, and Jones. Whata Corona covered the 300 yards in :15.622. Winning easily was Kolleen Ledgerwood’s Scholarly, which cruised to a half-length victory, in a time of :15.761. Ridden by the track’s all-time leading Quarter Horse jockey Eddie Garcia, the filly by TR Dasher will make her next start in the trials to the Kindergarten Futurity on May 1. Ron Hartley’s American Force had the largest winning margin of the night. The First Down Dash gelding posted a three-quarter length victory in a time of :15.704. He’s eligible to run in the Ed Burke Million Futurity trials in June.

 

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