05/16/2002 11:00PM

Nomination deadline extended for Million

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There are several changes to this year's Maryland Million, the state's second-biggest day of racing behind Preakness Day. The 2002 Maryland Million will be run Sept. 21 at Pimlico.

Cricket Goodall was recently promoted to the job of executive director with Maryland Million Ltd., after having served as assistant executive director for more than a decade. Goodall, who has lived in Maryland most of her life and has an extensive background in racing and the horse-show world, performed many of the day-to-day functions of the Maryland Million during the tenures of former executive directors Rich Wilcke (1986 to 1995) and Tim Capps (1995 to 2002).

The highly successful program can be expected to remain on a steady course under Goodall's leadership. But as it has done since Jim McKay first launched the program back in 1986, the Maryland Million continues to evolve.

This year, for the first time, supplemental nominations will be accepted. In the past, a horse had to be nominated to the Maryland Million as a yearling, but the nomination deadline has been extended to May 31 of a horse's 2-year-old year. The fee for supplemental nominations is $1,500, compared to $600 for a yearling nomination. Once nominated, a horse remains eligible to the Maryland Million for life.

"The board decided a few weeks ago to make this very limited supplemental nomination available," said Goodall. "It's targeted primarily to auction horses, who may not have been nominated before the sale. It gives people another option. The fee is more than double what it costs to nominate a yearling, but we believe the cost is fair."

This year's Maryland Million comprises 10 races worth a combined total of $1 million in purses. On the following Saturday (Sept. 28), Maryland Million eligibles can compete for $25,000 in purse premiums at the Shawan Downs steeplechase meet in Hunt Valley (about 15 miles north of Pimlico). Shawan Downs also will card one $15,000 race, whether over jumps or on the flat has yet to be determined, exclusively for Maryland Million-eligible horses.

Starting fees for the Maryland Million Day races have been raised, making the total fees required for a horse to participate equivalent to 2 percent of the purse (previously it was 1.5 percent). This year's pre-entry deadline is Sept. 11.

As always, the Maryland Million is restricted to runners sired by eligible Maryland stallions. Stallions are made eligible by annually paying an amount equal to their stud fee. It is not necessary for a horse to be a Maryland-bred in order to compete in the Maryland Million.

Many horses bred outside of Maryland have competed with success in the Maryland Million, including last year's Classic winner, Pennsylvania-bred Sumerset.

The lineup of races for Maryland Million Day 2002 is as follows:

o Classic, $200,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 1 3/16 miles.

o Lassie, $100,000-guaranteed, 2-year-old fillies, six furlongs.

o Nursery, $100,000-guaranteed, 2-year-olds, six furlongs.

o Distaff Handicap, $100,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3 and up, six furlongs.

o Oaks, $100,000-guaranteed, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles.

o Ladies, $100,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles, turf.

o Turf, $100,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles, turf.

o Sprint, $100,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs.

o Handicap, $50,000-guaranteed, 3-year-olds and up who have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since Sept. 21, 2001.

o Distaff Starter Handicap, $50,000-guaranteed, fillies and mares, 3 and up, who have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less since Sept. 21, 2001.