11/08/2001 1:00AM

Whosleavingwho out for another Grade 1


Whosleavingwho should be the odds-on favorite to post his second Grade 1 derby win at Los Alamitos when he starts in the $250,000 Los Alamitos Derby on Saturday night.

Whosleavingwho, owned by Jim Geiler and Kim Kessinger, won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 24 as the 4-5 favorite.

Whosleavingwho's success has not been limited to Los Alamitos. He campaigned at Ruidoso Downs last summer with a second-place finish to Feature Mr Jess in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby and a fourth behind Stoli in the Grade 1 All American Derby.

Stoli showed the strength of the All American Derby field when he came to Los Alamitos this fall. He was third in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Championship behind leading world champion contenders Corona Kool and A Ransom, both older runners.

Whosleavingwho has two wins in two starts at Los Alamitos since the All American Derby on Labor Day. He won the Grade 3 Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap under 126 pounds and then set the fastest qualifying time to the Los Alamitos Derby.

Trained by John Bassett and ridden by Joe Badilla Jr., Whosleavingwho was the star of the Los Alamitos Derby trials when he rolled to a 1 1/2-length victory with the fastest qualifying time of 19.765 seconds for the 400 yards.

The second- through sixth-place horses behind Whosleavingwho in their trial also qualified for the Los Alamitos Derby.

"He's so solid and compact that he's able to generate a lot of power when he leaves the gate. He can also finish strongly, but it does not hurt that he can get out of the gate quickly," Bassett said after the trial. "He makes few mistakes and that makes him tough to beat.'

First Down N Surfin won her Los Alamitos Derby trial with the second-fastest qualifying time, 19.875 seconds for the 400 yards.

Trained by Donna McArthur for owner Daniel Lucas, First Down N Surfin has shown her class with third-place finishes in the Grade 1 All American Futurity and Grade 2 La Primera Del Ano Derby.

First Down N Surfin returned from knee surgery to finish sixth behind Whosleavingwho in the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap on Oct. 5.

"I'm just glad that's she is starting to come around. She almost fell in her last start," said Lucas of the Sgt Pepper Feature, so the trial victory "was a much better effort."

Lucas and McArthur teamed to win last year's Los Alamitos Derby with Corona Kool, who has already earned a berth in this year's Champion of Champions with her Los Alamitos Championship win.

Since the Los Alamitos Derby winner receives an invitation to the Grade 1, $500,000 Champion of Champions, First Down N Surfin would join Corona Kool in the Champion of Champions on Dec. 16 if she can win the Los Alamitos Derby.