12/12/2005 12:00AM

Ocean Runaway wins finale


Ocean Runaway, the champion 2-year-old of 2004, ran a flawless race to win Saturday's $500,000 Champion of Champions for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, nearly eclipsing Dash for Cash's 1976 track record.

Ocean Runaway finished 440 yards in 21.20 seconds, missing Dash for Cash's mark by .003 of a second. Ridden by Alex Bautista, Ocean Runaway ($5.80) led throughout, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of 55-1 Like Frankie and Me. Apollitical Time finished third, a half-length in front of LDS Dash for Dylan.

The first four finishers were 3-year-olds. Two leading older horses did not pose a threat. Whosleavingwho, 7, winner of the 2002 Champion of Champions, was sixth, while Catchmeinyourdreams, 6, ran eighth in a bid for a fourth consecutive stakes win.

The Champion of Champions was Ocean Runaway's final start. He is bound for stud in Texas in 2006, having won 10 of 19 starts and $1,642,498 for owner Gary Muller and trainer Dennis Ekins.

* On Friday, Value the Man ($22.60) pulled an upset under G.R. Carter in the $1.5 million Los Alamitos Million Futurity for 2-year-olds. Owned by Nancy Yearsley and J. Garvan Kelly and trained by John Bassett, he scored by a half-length over the filly Higher Fire, finishing 400 yards in 19.56 seconds.