04/02/2002 12:00AM

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Edward J. McMullen, who in his racing career was a jockey, owner, trainer, and press box steward in Maryland, died Monday in Laurel, Md. He was 74. . . . Honor Grades (Danzig-Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat), the 14-year-old sire of Grade 1 winner Honor Glide and other graded stakes winners, died unexpectedly in his paddock at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday. The cause of death was not immediately known, and farm officials and syndicate members said Tuesday that they were awaiting a necropsy report. . . . Preference in the Kentucky Oaks field will now be made according to graded stakes earnings. In previous years, preference was by overall earnings, and last year's eventual winner, Flute, was nearly excluded from the race. . . . Naheef and Imtiyaz, both colts, and Silent Honor, a filly, won Godophin's three private trials for 3-year-olds on Tuesday evening at Nad Al Sheba. The three races were run at one mile on turf as preps for the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, which will be run at Newmarket, England, on May 4 and 5. . . . Tuesday's opening session at the two-day Inglis Easter yearling sale in Australia produced a $640,920 session-topper in a Sunday Silence colt out of Duelling Girl (Dayjur). The session sold 156 lots for $13,020,023, down from last year, when 163 brought $14,359,011, and the sale's average and median prices also dropped, to $83,462 and $53,410, respectively.