12/11/2002 12:00AM

Trio of rich stakes at Los Alamitos


Record-breaking stakes purses are on tap at Los Alamitos this weekend.

Friday night, the Grade 1, $1,313,700 Los Alamitos Million will have the richest purse in the track's 52-year history.

Saturday night, the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions will offer Quarter Horse racing's largest purse for older horses.

Sunday night, the initial running of the Grade 1, $200,000 Marathon National will have the richest purse ever for an 870-yard race.

Los Alamitos Million

Meteoric, third-place finisher in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity, will try to make amends for not being able to start in the Grade 1, $733,950 Golden State Futurity on Nov. 3 when he faces the winner of the Golden State, First Place Queen, in the Los Alamitos Million.

Meteoric, trained by Lin Melton, missed the Golden State because of a 104-degree temperature.

The Los Alamitos Million field was influenced by the luck of the draw for the nine trials held on Nov. 29. Meteoric, racing in the ninth trial, was the only horse who qualified from the last five trials, which were hampered by rain and winds.

Meteoric thrives on an off track. AB What a Runner beat Meteoric by just a neck in the All American Futurity over a very sloppy track. The third-place finish in Quarter Horse racing's richest race was his only setback in eight career starts. His seven wins include the Bitterroot Futurity and the Pot o' Gold Futurity.

First Place Queen won the Grade 1 Golden State Futurity by a nose. Racing in the first Los Alamitos Million trial, she was bumped repeatedly, but still managed a fourth-place finish with the 10th-fastest qualifying time.

First Place Queen is one of five horses trainer John Bassett will have in the Million. He will also saddle The Blues Man, Lotta Bang, Xterra, and Corona Caliente.

Royal Miracle Dip, trained by Melton, topped the qualifiers with a 19.830-second time for the 400 yards in the trials.

Royal Miracle Dip, who was winless from seven starts before the trials, is from a family of late-developing stakes winners. He is a half-brother to Florentine, a champion at 3 and 4, and champion distance horse Calyx.

Champion of Champions

A Ransom, the 6-5 morning line favorite, will have a firm grip on his second world championship in three years if he wins the Champion of Champions. He was the 2000 Champion of Champions winner and world champion.

A Ransom has been perfect in four starts for trainer Connie Hall this year, including the Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Championship, the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity, and the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Championship.

The 6-year-old A Ransom is riding a five-race winning streak. His last defeat was a third-place finish in the 2001 Champion of Champions.

Marathon National

Two-time defending distance champion Sign of Lanty, an 8-year-old gelding with 16 career stakes wins, will be trying to make up for a sub-par year in the Marathon National.

Sign of Lanty, trained by John Cooper, has won 4 of 11 starts this year. His last stakes win was a dead heat in the Moonshiner Handicap on Feb 2.

Sign of Lanty came through with a one-length win in his Marathon National trial with the fastest qualifying time of 45.81 seconds for the 870 yards, his first win since an allowance victory on July 14.

Sign of Lanty won the Marathon Handicap, the predecessor of the Marathon National, the last three years.

Also on Sunday night is the Grade 1, $163,450 Southern California Derby with fastest qualifier Harley Man, one of the seven stakes winners in the field.