Freespool set quick fractions en route to winning the $108,700 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths Sunday at Santa Anita. Under jockey Chris McCarron, Freespool completed the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.50 on a fast track.
"With this horse there's not much strategy," said McCarron. He's just fast and you hope he gets away from the gate cleanly. From that point on, I just try to stay out of his way, literally. With a horse like this I firmly believe that a rider is more of a hindrance than with a horse that needs a lot of aggressive riding."
McCarron and Freespool teamed to win the last running of the El Conejo, Jan. 2, making this the second time in 2000 the two have won the race.
The pair were sent off just under 4-1 and returned $9.20, $4.20, and $3.20. Men's Exclusive completed a $1 exacta worth $17.20 and paid $3.60 and $2.60. Third place Lexicon, the 5-2 favorite, was worth $3 to show. Capo Di Capo, Rapidough, Lesters Boy, and Son of a Pistol completed the order of finish.
Freespool was winless since his last El Conejo win, his only other stakes victory. Freespool is a 4-year-old son of Geiger Counter trained by Ted H. West for Desperado Stables Inc. He earned $65,220 for the win, his sixth in 15 starts. Freespool was bred in Kentucky by Ramom H. Rangel, Randy Swanson, and Janet Hewitt. (Chart, Equibase