01/02/2003 12:00AM

Record-setting filly adds to tricky decision


The 103 voters who will be filling out their ballots this week to determine the 2002 Quarter Horse world champion will have to make a tough choice.

They will be have to consider a record-setting juvenile filly - All American Futurity winner AB What a Runner - and a group of older geldings who have each won Grade 1 stakes and endured defeats in important stakes. These geldings are the 2000 world champion, A Ransom, the 2001 champion 3-year-old gelding, Whosleavingwho, and Streakin Sin Tacha.

The voters who determine the Quarter Horse year-end champions are the 96 members of the American Quarter Horse Association racing committee and seven media members. The 2002 champions will be announced on Jan. 15 during the Heritage Place winter sale in Oklahoma City.

AB What a Runner, owned by Dennie and Kris Hill and trained by Bret Vickery, raced the fastest 440 yards ever by a 2-year-old when she won her All American Futurity trial in 20.993 seconds, establishing a track record at Ruidoso Downs. She then gamely won the $1.9 million All American Futurity by a head over Grade 1 winner Eye Opening Episode.

AB What a Runner closed out her 2002 campaign in the trials to $1.3 million Los Alamitos Million Nov. 29. She won one of the later trials, when weather conditions were deteriorating, but her time was not good enough to qualify for the finals.

A Ransom, Streakin Sin Tacha, and Whosleavingwho each have their upsides and downsides.

A Ransom's upside is that he won four of his first five starts of 2002, including three Grade 1 stakes. His downside is that he ran last in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions, the race that usually determines the world champion. A Ransom, who is owned by John and Kathie Bobenreith, was retired after the Champion of Champions.

Streakin Sin Tacha, owned and trained by Janet VanBebber, won four stakes races, three of them Grade 1, and ended the year with a win last Saturday in the Grade 1, $350,000 The Championship at Sunland Park. His downside is that he ran sixth in the Champion of Champions.

Whosleavingwho, who is owned by Jim Geiler and Kim Kessinger, won the Champion of Champions over Streakin Sin Tacha and A Ransom. He also won the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap. His downside is that he was beaten by A Ransom in three Grade 1 stakes.