08/30/2002 11:00PM

$2 million on line in All American

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AB What a Runner broke a 29-year-old track record in the All American Futurity trials for Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs on Aug. 15. Her connections would probably trade that for a victory in the $2 million on Monday.

"There is a lot of pressure on us because you'll have to run that big of a race or better to win," said AB What a Runner's trainer, Bret Vickery.

A filly owned by Dennie and Kris Hill of Blackfoot, Idaho, AB What a Runner became the first 2-year-old to run 440 yards in less than 21 seconds when she was timed in 20.993 seconds on Aug. 15. The 10 fastest qualifiers from the 23 time trials earned berths into the final.

Vickery said AB What a Runner has bounced back well from the fast trial.

"I was pleased with the way she came back," Vickery said. "Any time they run that good it's a surprise."

Even with the speedy win, AB What a Runner is not expected to go favored in the All American, the world's richest 2-year-old race. The favorite is expected to be First to Flash, a winner of four consecutive races, including the important Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on July 21.

First to Flash is trained by John Bassett, who has won two of the last three runnings of the All American. Bassett also starts First Place Queen, who was second in the trials to Special Red Warrior.

"There is a tremendous amount of parity in this race," Bassett said. "I don't think you'll see one of them run off. If you get bumped, you'll get beat."

Jack Brooks, who has won the All American Futurity a record eight times, starts Silvered Eyes, who was third in the Rainbow.

Trainers Lin Melton and Sleepy Gilbreath both have two starters.

Gilbreath, who won with Refrigerator in 1990, starts Andthebeatgoeson and The Down Side. Both will be longshots.

Melton, who has never won the All American, starts the entry of Meteoric and Flys R Streakin, both major stakes winners for the Dutch Masters partnership.

Meteoric is unbeaten in six starts, including futurity wins at Sun Downs and Les Bois Park. Flys R Streakin won the prestigious Governor's Cup Futurity at Los Alamitos in June.

Melton spoke highly of Meteoric's development over the summer.

"He was a good horse in Idaho, and when we got here, he blossomed," Melton said. "I think he's a way better horse than he was in May."

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