10/31/2002 12:00AM

VanBebber holds aces on rich card


Trainer Janet VanBebber has both a "now" horse, Streakin Sin Tacha, and a reigning Quarter Horse world champion, Tailor Fit, in Saturday night's Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship at Lone Star Park.

The 440-yard Challenge Championship for older horses highlights a card that has 10 stakes and purses of $912,500. In addition to the MBNA Championship, the other Grade 1 stakes are the $175,000 Bayer Legend Challenge Championship for 3-year-olds, the $150,000 American Airlines Challenge Championship for 2-year-olds, the $75,000 Ford Challenge Championship for fillies and mares, and the $50,000 MCI Challenge Championship for distance horses.

The horses competing in the Championships were decided by 58 regional races this year. A total of $4.25 million will be distributed through the Challenge Program this year.

Streakin Sin Tacha, owned by VanBebber, comes into the MBNA America Challenge Championship off two stakes wins. A 4-year-old gelding, he won the Grade 1 Texas Challenge Championship on July 13 and the Grade 2 Sam Houston Classic on Aug. 30.

Tailor Fit, owned by Betty Jane Burlin, is the 1999 and 2001 world champion, but is looking for his first 2002 win. While winless this year, he has seconds in the Grade 1 Remington Park Championship, the Grade 1 MBNA America Oklahoma Challenge, and the Grade 2 MBNA America East Challenge.

Kendall Jackson, owned by M.J. Farms, has the speed to win any major stakes. He set the 440-yard world record when he won the Grade 1 MBNA America New Mexico Challenge in 20.733 seconds.

Since that record-setting win on April 7 at Sunland Park, Kendall Jackson was fifth in the All American Gold Cup on Aug. 31 at Ruidoso Downs and third in an allowance race on Oct. 12 at Lone Star Park, his local debut.

Here's a look at the other Grade 1 stakes on the Challenge Championship program:

Bayer Legend Challenge

Royal Baby Sister brings a consistent record into this 400-yard stakes for 3-year-olds, including a win in the Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge and a second in the Bayer Legend Oklahoma Challenge Championship.

Royal Baby Sister has finished on the board in six of eight starts this year with three wins.

Rulon Gardner won the Grade 3 West-Southwest Derby Challenge and was second in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Derby.

American Airlines Challenge

This wide-open 350-yard stakes for 2-year-olds could give One Corona for Me his first Grade 1 stakes victory.

One Corona for Me rolled to an easy 2 1/4-length win in the Grade 3 American Airlines West-Southwest Challenge on Sept. 2, his most recent start. He also qualified for the finals of two Grade 1 futurities, the Heritage Place Futurity and the Rainbow Futurity.

Ford Challenge

Baltimore Lou, who as a 5-year-old is having her best season, goes for her first Grade 1 win against in a well-matched field of females in the 400-yard Ford Challenge Championship.

Baltimore Lou won the West-Southwest Distaff Challenge at Arapahoe Park and was second in the Central Distaff Challenge at Prairie Meadows.

Lady Tenaya is in peak form with a win over Baltimore Lou in their last meeting on Sept. 21 at Prairie Meadows.

MCI Challenge

World record holder Rock N Strawfly will try to dethrone champion Sign of Lanty in the MCI Challenge, an 870-yard showdown.

Rock N Strawfly set the 870-yard world record of 43.845 seconds when he won an allowance race at Sunland Park on April 7. In his last two starts, both at Los Alamitos, he won the Grade 3 California Breeders Marathon Stakes and was second in the Grade 3 Pat Hyland Memorial Stakes.

Sign of Lanty has won this race the past two years on his way to being named the champion distance horse each year. This year, he has not been the dominant force he has been in recent years, but he has finished in a dead heat for the win in The Moonshiner Handicap and was second in the California Distance Challenge.

Six Little Injuns is facing his toughest test. He has five stakes wins this year, including the Grade 3 East Challenge at Delta Downs.