09/09/2003 11:00PM

With no trials, AB What a Runner may fare better


AB What a Runner is undefeated, a champion, a millionaire, and a world record holder, yet the 3-year-old filly will be making just her second stakes appearance in the Grade 1, $100,000 Mildred Vessels Handicap at 400 yards on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

AB What a Runner, winner of the 2002 All American Futurity, has encountered misfortune when trying to qualify for two Grade 1 races. She won her 2002 Los Alamitos Million trial by a half-length but only had the 12th-fastest qualifying time. She won her All American Derby trial at Ruidoso Downs - her most recent start, on Aug. 15 - by 1 1/2 lengths but still could not crack the top 10 qualifiers.

"We don't have to run in trials to the Millie Vessels, so that's great," trainer Brett Vickery said. The race will be the 2002 champion 2-year-olds first start against older mares. "We were sick she did not make it to the All American Derby. We have moved on and are looking forward to this race."

AB What a Runner, who is owned by Dennie and Kris Hill, has earned $1,038,360 with six wins from six starts. She set a world record for 350 yards (17.050 seconds) when she won a Ruidoso Downs allowance race on July 19.

AB What a Runner will be tested by Dinastia Toll, the defending Mildred Vessels winner; First Regards, champion 3-year-old filly of 2002; Your First Moon, 2001 champion 2-year-old; and Mini Rock, winner of the 2003 Ford California Distaff Challenge.

Dinastia Toll is after her first win since she took the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap on Jan. 25.

First Regards and Your First Moon are after their first stakes wins of the year.

Mini Rock is in top form for trainer Blane Schvaneveldt, with wins in an allowance race and the Grade 3 Ford Distaff in her two most recent starts.