01/24/2002 1:00AM

Champions gets two new qualifiers


The qualifying format for the 2002 running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions has been established with the All American Derby at Ruidoso and the Go Man Go Invitational Handicap at Los Alamitos being added to the list of races whose winners will receive an automatic Champion of Champions berth.

The Champion of Champions will be held on Dec. 14 at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The six other Grade 1 races from which the winners receive Champion of Champions invitations are the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, Remington Park Championship, Vessels Maturity, Los Alamitos Championship, Los Alamitos Derby, and the MBNA America Challenge Championship.

The two remaining berths will be determined in the Z. Wayne Griffin Director's Trials. Horses that have won or placed in graded stakes will be eligible for the Director's Trials.

If a horse wins more than one Champion of Champions qualifying race or declines an invitation, the open berth will revert to the Director's Trials. Therefore, more than two berths could be determined in the Director's trials.

In the 30 runnings of the Champion of Champions, the winner has been named world champion Quarter Horse 21 times, including 2001 world champion and Champion of Champions winner Tailor Fit.