10/12/2001 12:00AM

Exciting Story rests on his laurels, awaits vote count


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Exciting Story, who wrote the finest chapter of his career when winning the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont this May, is unlikely to see action again this season.

A Florida-bred 4-year-old owned and bred by Harry T. Mangurian Jr. and trained by Mark Casse, Exciting Story has been off since Sept. 1, when he was upset by Praise From Dixie in a seven-furlong money allowance here.

"After his last race, he got pretty sick," said Casse, "and it just kind of knocked him out. He's just now really getting back to himself.

"Mr. Mangurian's had some offers to sell him, as a stallion prospect to leave North America, but he's decided he's going to run him another year. So, we're not in any big hurry."

While Casse has not completely ruled out running Exciting Story in the Kennedy Road here Dec. 1, he knows that race falls beyond the Nov. 25 cutoff date for Sovereign Award consideration and would not be of benefit in that regard.

"I would think that he's pretty well got the Canadian championship locked up, anyway," said the trainer, "for sprinter, at least."

Exciting Story, already a Sovereign recipient in his 2-year-old season, also won the Grade 3 Vigil over seven furlongs here April 28, turning the tables on Wake at Noon after opening up his 2001 campaign with a second-place finish to that rival in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier.

But will the Sovereign Award voters regard the one-turn Met Mile as a sprint, which Casse believes is the proper interpretation, or view Exciting Story's effort there in terms of his credentials for older male honors?

If the voters lean in the latter direction, then the beneficiary in the sprint category would be Mr. Epperson.

"To me, my horse has done everything, dirt and turf," said trainer Scott Fairlie, who also co-owns Mr. Epperson in partnership with his father, Robert, Brian Brolley, and Ron Marlowe.

A 6-year-old gelding, Mr. Epperson finished fourth when also making his seasonal bow in the Cartier, beaten

3 1/2 lengths by Exciting Story in their only encounter.

But Mr. Epperson since has won five of six outings, including the Grade 2 Nearctic over six furlongs of turf, the Grade 3 Play the King over seven furlongs of turf, and most recently the Grade 3 Highlander over six furlongs on the main track.

Fairlie is considering sending Mr. Epperson out of town for his next start and has nominated him to the $75,000, six-furlong Skip Trial at The Meadowlands this Friday.

The other option for Mr. Epperson is the Grade 3 Sport Page, a $100,000 race at 6 1/2 furlongs that is part of the Oct. 27 World Thoroughbred Championships program at Belmont Park.

"He's awesome right now," said Fairlie. "He's in really good shape."

Plenty of exotics on menu

Woodbine will serve as host of the Canadian pool for the World Thoroughbred Championships, which features a pick six on races 5 through 10 - the Breeders' Cup Mile, Sprint, Filly and Mare Turf, Juvenile, Turf, and Classic.

The pick six will be a $2 wager with a mandatory payout, with 60 percent of the net pool going to tickets with all six winners and 40 percent for consolation payoffs to those with the next-best results.

If no tickets include all six winners then the entire pool will be paid out in the consolation mode, which raises the interesting possibility of a lone ticket-holder with (for example) five winners scooping the pot.

There also will be a win four on the last four Breeders' Cup races plus two pick threes, the first comprising races 2 through 4 (an undercard stakes, the Distaff, and the Juvenile Fillies) and the second races 6 through 8 (Mile, Filly, and Mare Turf, Juvenile). Daily doubles will be available on the first and last two races of the 10-race program.

There will be superfecta wagering on the Turf and Classic, and triactors and exactors on all races with the minimum number of betting interests.

Woodbine's live 10-race program on Oct. 27 will begin at 11:30 a.m. and is slated to wind up at 4:35 p.m., prior to the running of the Turf and Classic.

There also will be simulcast wagering on Keeneland and Santa Anita.

Keeneland's abbreviated four-race program will begin at 11:15 a.m. and end at approximately 12:45 p.m., prior to the first Breeders' Cup event.

Santa Anita's first race will go at 12:45 p.m. Eastern time and the balance of the seven-race card will continue at 6:05 p.m., after the last Breeders' Cup has been run. The last Santa Anita race will go here at 8:35 p.m.

o Jockey Mickey Walls has been fined $100 after the stewards ruled he stood up before the finish of last Monday's first race. Walls was riding second-place finisher Caraquet, who was beaten 1 1/4 lengths by the winner but had a half-length edge over the third-place finisher.

o Daily Racing Form's Ron Gierkink and Jennifer Morrison will be the guests at a free Breeders' Cup seminar here next Sunday, Oct. 21. The one-hour session, which will take place on the second floor of the grandstand, begins at 11:30 a.m. and the first 100 attendees will receive a free copy of DRF's Breeders' Cup advance edition. The discussion will include a race-by-race analysis of the eight Breeders' Cup events, with a focus on betting strategies for the exotic and serial wagers.