11/05/2003 1:00AM

AB What a Runner returns after first loss


AB What a Runner will try to rebound from her first career defeat when she starts in the Grade 1, $269,200 Los Alamitos Derby on Saturday night.

The winner of the race, a 440-yard stakes, will receive an invitation to run in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 13.

AB What a Runner's defeat came in her eighth career start, when she finished a head behind the fastest-qualifier, Strawberry Dash, in the first of two trials Oct. 25.

"She broke well and then flattened out, but then she came on," Vickery said of AB What a Runner. "I think she likes Ruidoso more than Los Alamitos, not that she's bad here. Hopefully, she'll like it more."

Trained by Brett Vickery for owners Dennie and Kris Hill, AB What a Runner was named the 2002 champion 2-year-old after winning the Grade 1 All American Futurity. She defeated older mares in the Grade 1, $110,000 Mildred Vessels at Los Alamitos in her start before the Los Alamitos Derby trials.

Strawberry Dash, trained by Paul Jones, is looking for her first stakes win after winning the 400-yard trial in 19.800 seconds.

In the other trial, First to Flash, the 2002 champion 2-year-old colt, defeated 7-10 favorite Mongoose Jet Eye by a head with the fourth-fastest qualifying time of 19.870 seconds.

Trained by John Bassett, First to Flash was under a hold by jockey Saul Ramirez Jr. for the trial win. The win was First to Flash's third from six starts this year.

"He did it easy," Bassett said. "He hurt his ankle early this year and it's just taken a lot of time to get over it. He's finally getting confident and getting better."

Mongoose Jet Eye came into the trial off four straight wins, including three stakes in fast times.

Dashin after third straight stakes

Dashin Prince Henry will go for his third straight stakes win when he starts in the $20,000 6666 Handicap at Lone Star Park on Saturday night.

Trained by Jack Brooks for owner Jim Pitts, Dashin Prince Henry concluded his summer at Ruidoso Downs with a win in the Grade 3, $31,000 All American Gold Cup. He started his Lone Star Park campaign with a win in the $20,000 Burnett Handicap, his most recent start.

Burrs Warrior comes into the 6666 Handicap with one win in seven starts this year, but has three career stakes wins. His biggest win was the 2002 Bayer Legend East Challenge.

Arbor Mist back after NTR

Arbor Mist, owned by MJ Farms, returns in the finals for the Grade 3, $134,266 New Mexico Breeders Futurity on Sunday afternoon after having set a SunRay Park track record in her trial.

Trained by Dru Hill, Arbor Mist knocked six-hundredths of a second off the SunRay 350-yard track record when she won the fourth of five trials Oct. 25 in 17.218 seconds. She came into her trial off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Senorita Futurity at The Downs at Albuquerque.

Second-fastest qualifier Into the Zone won his trial by a half-length in 17.361 seconds.