05/13/2003 11:00PM

For Whosleavingwho, lack of trials a reason to run


When it was learned on Tuesday that Friday night's trials for the Grade 2, $60,000-added MBNA American California Challenge at Los Alamitos had been canceled, Paul Jones, the trainer of 2002 co-world champion Whosleavingwho, was thrilled.

When the connections of only 10 horses expressed an interest in running in the California Challenge, trials were not needed. Those 10 horses, including Whosleavingwho, can now point to the 440-yard finals May 31.

"No trials was one of the reasons we wanted to run Whosleavingwho in the race," Jones said from his Los Alamitos barn. "If there had been trials, we probably wouldn't have run,"

"He's at a point we don't want to run at small purses, and I don't want to run him in two 440-yard races so close together as the trials and finals."

The 5-year-old Whosleavingwho is on a three-race winning streak, including the Grade 1 Champion of Champions and the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship.

Corona Cartel pair head Kindergarten

Corona Clique and Ocean Cartel, two offspring of 1996 Kindergarten winner Corona Cartel, head the 48th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Kindergarten over 300 yards at Los Alamitos on Saturday night.

Corona Clique, owned by Vinewood Farms, has done everything trainer R.C. "Mike" Howell has asked of her in two career starts. She won her maiden in her first start on April 11 by three-quarters of a length, then returned three weeks later on May 3 and set the fastest qualifying time in the 11 Kindergarten trials. She was timed in 15.385 seconds for the 300 yards under Eddie Garcia, who will ride her on Saturday night.

"Eddie couldn't have ridden her any better in the trials," Howell said. "I told him to let her run on her own for the first 50 yards so she could get her feet together and that's exactly what he did. He has taken great care of this filly."

Ocean Cartel, owned by Lucas Racing Inc., will be trying to give trainer Donna McArthur her second straight Kindergarten win. McArthur won last year's Kindergarten with Morning Snow.

Ocean Cartel is 2 for 2 lifetime. He scored a 1 1/2-length maiden win under a very tight hold by jockey Sam Thompson, then won his Kindergarten trial by a neck. His trial time of 15.480 seconds was the second-fastest qualifying time.

"He stumbled when he broke in [in his trial] and drifted out after he recovered, but I believe he is going to improve," McArthur said. "When it came to posting a fast time, he came through."

Buchanan seeks sweep at Retama

Trainer John Buchanan is primed for a good night Saturday at Retama Park with the top qualifiers to the Grade 2 $81,000 American Airlines Texas Challenge and the Grade 3, $27,450 Ford Texas Challenge, two stakes in the American Quarter Horse Association's Racing Challenge program.

The American Airlines Texas Challenge at 350 yards is for 2-year-olds, the Ford Texas Challenge is for 3-year-old and older fillies and mares at 400 yards. The winner of each of the races will qualify to race in a Grade 1 race during the MBNA America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on Nov. 1.

In the American Airlines Texas Challenge, Buchanan will send out the two fastest qualifiers from the May 3 trials, No Fees and Kpax.

No Fees, owned by Buchanan and Bobby Cox, made her career debut in the trials and came through with the fastest qualifying time of 18.090 seconds for 350 yards. Sired by Runaway Winner, No Fees won the seventh of 12 trials by 2 1/2 lengths.

Kpax, owned by Cox, was also making her first start in the trials, which she won by a length in 18.200 seconds, the second-fastest qualifying time.

In the Ford Texas Challenge, Buchanan is represented by fastest qualifier Go You Must, owned by Bullard Farms.

The 4-year-old Go You Must is going after her first stakes win. She upset 6-5 favorite Waitin on Royalty in the first of two trials. Six of the Ford Texas Challenge finalists come out of that trial. Go You Must, making her first start since Nov. 29, won the trial by a half-length in 19.950 seconds for the 400 yards.

The 3-year-old Waitin on Royalty won her first three starts before finishing second to Go You Must.