08/01/2001 11:00PM

Something has to give in Vessels Maturity


A Ransom, the defending world champion Quarter Horse, who is undefeated in seven starts since 1999, meets Corona Kool, who is undefeated in three starts since December, in the Grade 1 $134,500 Vessels Maturity at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

Owned by John and Kathie Bobenrieth, A Ransom was undefeated in five starts last year on his way to the world championship. He raced to Grade 1 wins in the Vessels Maturity, Los Alamitos Championship, and the Champion of Champions.

Trainer Connie Hall brought A Ransom back this year after minor knee surgery, and he won the Grade 1 $150,000 Spencer Childers Handicap at Los Alamitos on June 27 in his 2001 debut.

A Ransom followed up that victory by holding off a late charge by Rojo Dancer while winning his Vessels Maturity trial. His time of 19.715 seconds for the 400 yards topped the qualifiers. Rojo Dancer is the third-fastest qualifier (19.740).

Corona Kool, owned by Lucas Racing Inc., is the sport's top mare and is making a strong run for championship honors. She was the 1999 champion 2-year-old filly Quarter Horse.

Trained by Donna McArthur, Corona Kool moved to the top of the female ranks when she won the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap at Los Alamitos on Jan. 19. After being given a rest, Corona Kool came back and won the Grade 3 California Matron Stakes on June 23 by 2 1/2 lengths.

Corona Kool turned in another superlative effort in her Vessels Maturity trial. Under a hold by jockey Sam Thompson, Corona Kool defeated Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship winner Hawkinson by a length.

A Ransom and Corona Kool faced each other in the Champion of Champions last December, with A Ransom winning and Corona Kool third in her most recent defeat.

Also in the Vessels Maturity is 2000 champion 3-year-old gelding Chicks First Policy, who was third in his Vessels Maturity trial behind Corona Kool and Hawkinson.

Royaltime Classic tops Challenge

Ruidoso Futurity finalist Royaltime Classic heads the 10 2-year-olds in the Grade 2 $112,770 American Airlines New Mexico Challenge at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday afternoon.

The winner will get an invitation to the Grade 1 $150,000 American Airlines Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on Oct. 20.

Royaltime Classic has three wins and a second from five career starts, with her only off-the-board finish a seventh-place effort in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity.

Owned by Jose and Victor Diaz, Royaltime Classic overcame a slow start to win her Challenge trial in 17.775 seconds for the 350 yards, the quickest time from the nine trials held on July 20.

Rainbow Futurity winner injured

Doing Magic, winner of the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity on July 22, sustained a saucer fracture to his left cannon bone during the race and will be sidelined until 2002.

Owned by John Boeger and Louis Howard, Doing Magic will miss the $2 million (estimated) All American Futurity and the $1 million (estimated) Texas Classic Futurity. He would have been among the favorites in each of those races.

Doing Magic was also the fastest qualifier to the Rainbow Futurity.