01/03/2002 12:00AM

Tailor Fit likely to regain crown


Defending world champion A Ransom's decisive three-quarter-length win in last Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 The Championship at Sunland Park will probably not be enough to derail Champion of Champions winner Tailor Fit's bid for the 2001 world champion title.

Tailor Fit, the 1999 world champion, is expected to regain Quarter Horse racing's premier title because of his win over A Ransom, who finished third, in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 16. Tailor Fit did not run in Saturday's race.

Annually, the Champion of Champions is the sport's most important race in determining the world champion.

Quarter Horse champions are determined by a vote of the 92-member American Quarter Horse Association racing committee and seven media members. The winners will be announced on Jan. 16.

In addition to his Champion of Champions win, Tailor Fit won the Grade 1 Remington Park Championship and the Grade 1 MBNA America Challenge Championship.

In the Champion of Champions, Tailor Fit also defeated probable 2001 champion aged mare Corona Kool and probable champion aged stallion Hawkinson.

Tailor Fit's trainer, Janet VanBebber, who took over her husband Steve's stable after his death in December 2000, will probably named champion trainer in her first year as a trainer. She did a masterful job with Tailor Fit and was the leading trainer at the Sam Houston Race Park meet. She contemplated running Tailor Fit in The Championship at Sunland Park, but decided it was best for the horse not to deviate from the initial plan for a rest after the Champion of Champions.

Pivotal Decision is a lock for champion 3-year-old gelding. He won two Grade 1 stakes and was the top 3-year-old in Texas.

The 3-year-old colt division was deep and and perhaps the most likely champion is Grade 1 All American Derby winner Stoli, who was third to Corona Kool and A Ransom in the Los Alamitos Championship. Grade 1 winners Feature Mr Jess and Dashin Bye will get deserved consideration.

Royal Dip could be named champion 3-year-old filly by virtue of winning the Grade 1 Golden State Derby. However, her male counterparts were the cream of the 3-year-old crop.

The 2-year-old division was contentious, and Grade 1, $2.2 million All American Futurity winner Ausual Suspect has a good shot to be named the top 2-year-old and 2-year-old colt. He won the sport's premier futurity over stablemate Tres Seis, who then went to Los Alamitos and won the Grade 1 Golden State Futurity.

Shining Sky, a two-time Grade 1 winner in Texas, is a likely selection for champion 2-year-old gelding, and Grade 1, $1.2 million Los Alamitos Million winner Your First Moon will probably be named champion 2-year-old filly. Defending distance champion Sign of Lanty will retain his title. He won four 870-yard stakes, two of them were Grade 1.

Panther Mountain risks streak

Panther Mountain, owned by Guy Weimer and trained by Charles Treece, will go for his fourth straight win in the $25,000 Cypress Sophomore Handicap over 350 yards at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

Panther Mountain has won four of his last five outs, including the QHBC Juvenile Classic in his most recent effort.

Facing probable favorite Panther Mountain will be All American Futurity finalist Doc Colby and Miami Cartel, who is coming off two allowance wins.