09/18/2002 11:00PM

Duckhorn looks like a Million

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Topped by the $200,000 Classic, Maryland Million Day takes center stage at Pimlico on Saturday.

The 17th Maryland Million comprises 10 races, worth a total of $1 million. The races are restricted to the progeny of Maryland-based stallions.

The 1 3/16-mile Classic, the 10th and final race on the card, has drawn 10 horses. The strong favorite and 126-pound highweight is graded stakes winner Duckhorn.

Duckhorn, a 5-year-old son of Not for Love, worked at Churchill Downs on Tuesday and was scheduled to arrive in Maryland early on Friday.

Duckhorn, who has earned about $750,000, has won races at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Hawthorne, Keeneland, and Laurel Park. Earlier this year, he won the Grade 3 Ben Ali in the mud at Keeneland. Last year, he won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup.

Duckhorn's trainer, Pat Byrne, said he is expecting a good effort from the horse, who is a front-runner.

"He's just a fast horse and doesn't need to take his racetrack with him," said Byrne, who trains Duckhorn for Michael Tabor.

The Classic will be Duckhorn's first start since winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs on June 23. Byrne freshened Duckhorn after that race with the Classic specifically in mind.

Duckhorn, who should secure the early lead from his rail post, will be ridden by Richard Migliore.

Docent could pose the biggest threat to Duckhorn. Docent, who likes to stalk, would be helped if a speed duel develops, although it seems unlikely anyone can keep up with Duckhorn early.

Last year, Docent, trained by Tim Ritchey, won a stakes for 3-year-olds on Million Day and ran fourth in two graded stakes, the Pennsylvania Derby and the Discovery. The Waquoit colt has won two ungraded stakes this year, including the Iroquois at Penn National.

Jeremy Rose rides Docent, who drew post 7.

Sumerset won last year's Classic in a stunner at odds of 30-1 for Ritchey and E & G Stables.

Now trained by Jayne Vaders, Sumerset has won five races at Penn National this year and finished a narrow second behind Docent in the Iroquois.

Orlando Bocachica rides Sumerset, who drew post 5.

Concerned Minister failed as the Classic favorite the last two years. The Concern gelding has been beaten in his last seven starts.

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