12/08/2005 12:00AM

440-yard title bout for rivals


The rivalry between the Quarter Horses Catchmeinyourdreams and Whosleavingwho stretches back to May 2003 and covers 11 races.

Catchmeinyourdreams has finished ahead of Whosleavingwho eight times, but it is Whosleavingwho who has accomplished more.

The 2002 co-World Champion Quarter Horse, Whosleavingwho, 7, has earned more than $1.3 million in 44 starts. Catchmeinyourdreams, 6, twice named champion aged gelding, has won $939,542 from 42 starts.

They meet for the 12th time in Saturday's $500,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos, a race expected to decide this year's World Champion. The field is determined in two ways. Five horses earned automatic berths by winning major stakes this year. The rest qualified through time trials in November.

Catchmeinyourdreams and Whosleavingwho are not the only two starters capable of winning the 440-yard race, but they will be the focus for many bettors.

"We're a big part of who he is, and he's a big part of who we are," said Kirk Goodfellow, who owns Catchmeinyourdreams.

Saturday's running will be the fourth consecutive year that Whosleavingwho has started in the Champion of Champions. He won in 2002, was fourth in 2003, and ninth last year. Trained by Paul Jones, Whosleavingwho qualified to Saturday's race by winning the Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February, a race in which Catchmeinyourdreams was sixth.

Catchmeinyourdreams is making his third consecutive appearance in the Champion of Champions, having finished second in 2003 and fourth last year. Trained by Christopher O'Dell, Catchmeinyourdreams would have been named World Champion had he won either of those races.

Plagued by foot problems in recent seasons, Catchmeinyourdreams is in better shape this year, according to Goodfellow.

"Our whole year has been pointed for the Champions of Champions," Goodfellow said. "Chris and I sat down last December after the Champion of Champions and said, 'How are we going to get back?' We devised a plan to be back here at this time.

"His feet are a lot better this year. This horse has overcome so many little problems."

Catchmeinyourdreams is on a three-race winning streak and will be favored on Saturday. The streak includes a victory in the Los Alamitos Championship on Oct. 15 at the expense of Whosleavingwho, who finished third. The race gave Catchmeinyourdreams an automatic berth to Saturday's race.

A trio of 3-year-olds could pose a threat to the veterans.

Ocean Runaway, the champion 2-year-old of 2004, is coming off a 400-yard track-record performance (19.30 seconds) in the Nov. 19 trials. LDS Dash for Dylan, all 17 hands of him, is seeking his sixth consecutive win, but must beat the filly Apollitical Time, who won the $637,100 Los Alamitos Super Derby over Ocean Runaway on Nov. 12.