09/19/2001 11:00PM

Battle of champions at Los Al


A Ransom and Tailor Fit, the past two Quarter Horse world champions, each of whom has won the prestigious Champion of Champions, meet in this year's renewal of the Grade 1, $200,000 Los Alamitos Championship at 440 yards Saturday night.

A Ransom, the 2000 world champion, is riding an eight-race winning streak that includes last year's Los Alamitos Championship and the Grade 1 Champion of Champions, which he won by a half-length as the 7-10 favorite.

Owned by John and Kathie Bobenreith, A Ransom has three wins this year, including the Grade 1 Spencer Childers Breeders Championship and the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity. Trainer Connie Hall sent out A Ransom for a very sharp 350-yard work in 17.90 seconds in preparation for Saturday's race. Tailor Fit, the 1999 world champion who races for Betty Jane Burlin, comes to Los Alamitos after winning two Grade 1 races at Remington Park this spring. He won the Oklahoma Challenge Championship by 1 3/4 lengths and then prevailed by a head in the Remington Park Champion-ship. "We planned on flying him [to Los Alamitos], but couldn't because of our national tragedy. So I put him on a van. It's not the best for him, but I wanted an out over the track before the [MBNA America] Challenge Championship [on Oct. 20]," said trainer Janet VanBebber, who wrapped up the Sam Houston Race Park training title last week with a record-equaling 58 wins.

Expected to face the two world champions are Corona Kool, Hawkinson, and Stoli.

Corona Kool, the leading contender for champion aged mare honors, comes into the Los Alamitos Championship off a runner-up finish to A Ransom in the Vessels Maturity. Trained by Donna McArthur for Lucas Racing Inc., Corona Kool won the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap and the Grade 3 California Breeders Matron Stakes before the Vessels Maturity.

Hawkinson, the top prospect for champion aged stallion honors, is having his best season, with victories in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship and the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap, his most recent race. He was fourth in the Vessels Maturity behind A Ransom and Corona Kool.

Stoli, in the hunt for the champion 3-year-old colt title, is making his Los Alamitos debut after winning the Grade 1 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in his latest start.