High dramas, low exactas and deja vu


Included in the $1.05 million paid to the top finishers in yesterday's final 10 races of the Maryland Million are nominators' awards.

Those awards, worth $52,500 (5 percent of each purse), are paid to persons who nominate the horse and the horse's sire to the Maryland Million.

Nine other awards, all worth considerably less:

* The "It's Probably Happened to Dad and Unc Before" Award to:

Matt McCarron, who rode favored Chester Peekin to a close second-place finish in the Amateur Riding Event. "I thought I had it at the sixteenth-pole," said McCarron, 20, "but he just got beat." McCarron, who is too big to ride professionally, is the son of Gregg McCarron and the nephew of Chris McCarron, both jockeys.

* The "I Had the Exacta -- and the Double!" Award to:

The many horseplayers who had the Safely Kept-In the Curl exacta in the day's third race, then completed the Daily Double when Coolin It won the fourth. For $2 wagers, each gimmick paid all of $4.20.

* The "Haven't We Been Here Before?" Award to:

Make Azilian and jockey Jeff Teter, winners of the steeplechase event. The two paired to win at Pimlico in June, when steeplechasing was held at a Maryland flat track for the first time in 40 years.

* The "It Had Nearly as Many Legs as a Horse" Award to:

Gary Stevens, whose overnight plane trip took nine hours. Stevens said he departed from San Diego, laid over in Los Angeles, then Cincinnati, then arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 8:30 a.m. yesterday.

* The "Let's Light It Up" Award to:

Missy White Oak, winner of the Maryland Lassie. The 43-1 shot paid $89 to win, led a $976.20 exacta, and topped a $21,088.50 triple. All are Maryland Million-record payoffs.

* The "Your Guess Is As Good As Mine" Award to:

The horses in the seventh race, a wide open betting affair in which the lowest odds were 7-2 (Lord March and A Magic Emperor). When the dust cleared, the winner was Smart Alec, the fifth choice (7.70-1) in a field of nine.

* The "Can You Make More of These?" Award to:

The connections of Countus In, winner of the $150,000 Ladies for the third straight year. Those three victories account for $262,500 of her $557,219 career bankroll, or nearly half.

* The "Is Anybody Out There?" Award to:

Coolin It and Richard's Lass, who ran off and hid from their rivals in winning the Nursery and Oaks, respectively. Coolin It won by 7 1/4 lengths and Richard's Lass won by 14 lengths, easily a Million record.

* Finally, the "Just Give Us Time, Mrs. Genter" Award to:

Buddy Raines, 81, and Anderson Fowler, 80, who have won the Classic the past three years as trainer and owner, respectively. They still haven't achieved the fame that Frances Genter, now 93, earned last year when her Unbridled won the Kentucky Derby -- but, hey, she has all those years on them.

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