09/22/2004 12:00AM

Premier mares meet


The highly anticipated confrontation between two-time champion AB What a Runner and Vessels Maturity winner Mongoose Jet Eye will take place in the Grade 1, $100,000 Mildred Vessels Handicap for females at 400 yards on Saturday night at Los Alamitos. The result will determine the leader in the aged mare division.

AB What a Runner was named the champion 2-year-old in 2002 and returned last year to defeat older mares in the Mildred Vessels and win the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Derby on her way to being honored as the champion 3-year-old filly. A winner of 11 of 14 career starts and $1,341,285, AB What a Runner comes off a rare sub-par result, a fourth-place finish as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap on Sept. 11, when the ground broke beneath her feet at the start.

While AB What a Runner was a precocious juvenile who has maintained her stellar form, Mongoose Jet Eye became a Grade 1-class horse when she finished fourth - behind AB What a Runner - in the 2003 Los Alamitos Derby. It is the only race in which she has not finished in the top two in her 12 starts.

Mongoose Jet Eye scored her eighth victory when she defeated males in the Grade 1, $141,000 Vessels Maturity in her most recent start on Aug. 7.

* On Friday night, All American Derby fastest qualifier Brookstone Bay returns to Los Alamitos to head the Grade 3, $33,100 Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap. He finished fifth in the All American Derby on Sept. 5.