Who is the leading Horse of the Year candidate?
Although a columnist for this paper was on the right track when he recently wrote that the award for 1991 should be withheld, there is one horse with a chance to emerge as a standout.
In Excess would be a clear-cut and deserving champion if he wins the Woodward Stakes next Sunday at Belmont Park and the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
In Excess will be making an 11th-hour entry into the American Championship Racing Series in the $500,000 Woodward, the 10th and final leg of the ACRS. Outside the ACRS, In Excess, a 4-year-old colt, has been impressive in winning three New York races.
In the 1 1/8 -mile Woodward, he'll face Festin and Farma Way, the pair tied for the lead in the ACRS bonus chase with 40 points each.
For familiar rivals Festin and Farma Way, the Woodward is the decisive race for the first-place bonus of $750,000 -- half of the FTC total bonus pool.
More Maryland Million:
* Horses that could have been made eligible for today's program and in prior years but were not nominated: Opening Verse, Restless Con, Flaming Emperor and Wait For the Lady.
* In the previous 45 Million races, favorites have won 16 (35.5 percent). Favorites win about 28 percent of Maryland races overall.
* Of the 45 winners, 29 were registered Maryland-breds. The others were officially bred in other states but sired by Maryland stallions.
* Glade Valley Farms, home of leading Million sire Rollicking, is also the leading breeder of Million winners (four). Anderson Fowler is second with three.
* Countus In and Safely Kept are both heavily favored to win for the third time today, but the other two-time winner, Master Speaker, triumphed in separate events. He won the Turf as a 3-year-old and the Classic as a 4-year-old.
Kent Desormeaux, the former Maryland star, has rebounded from a luckless first half of 1991.
After Friday's racing, when just four days were left in a 43-day meeting at Del Mar Race Course, Desormeaux had ridden 45 winners and was tied for the lead in the jockeys' standings with Patrick Valenzuela.
If he wins the Del Mar meet, it would be his second riding title since he moved to California early last year. He won the Santa Anita-at-Oak Tree meet last fall.
When Andrea Seefeldt won the Pennsylvania Derby aboard Valley Crossing on Monday, she became the first female to win the race in its 13-year history.
But that's nothing, according to research done by Jack Mann, the Maryland columnist for The Racing Times.
Mann said the victory makes Seefeldt the first woman to win any of the 26 derbies regularly run in North America. That includes every derby from Kentucky, Florida and Santa Anita to such obscure events as the British Columbia Derby, the Pomona Derby, and yes, the Land of Enchantment Derby.
Seefeldt, 28, embarks for a three-week tour of racetracks in Japan tomorrow.
With this year's Budweiser International spotted just 13 days before the Breeders' Cup, look for the race to regain some of the stature it's lost in recent years.
The 1 1/4 -mile race will be run Oct. 20, which should serve as an attractive prep for the 1 1/2 -mile Breeders' Cup on Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs.
The timing of the race is better than in years such as 1985, when it was after the Breeders' Cup, or 1990, when it was held a mere six days before the Breeders' Cup.
Seven European horses are among the 28 nominated to the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase, to be run Oct. 12 at Fair Hill Race Course.
Morley Street, an 11-length winner of last year's race at Belmont Park, is the leading nominee to the 2 5/8 -mile race. Trainer Janet Elliot has seven horses nominated, and Jonathan Sheppard has five.
6* NBC-TV will provide same-day coverage.
The marriage between ABC-TV and the Eclipse Awards was a short one.
ABC officials have notified the Thoroughbred Racing Association will not provide coverage of the Eclipse announcements for the awards. Last February, ABC produced an Eclipse show at an estimated cost of $150,000.
The TRA is attempting to find a sponsor or another outlet for the