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A SIDEWAYS GLANCE : MUSICAL SADDLES.

Andrew Payne, a 17-year-old apprentice jockey, was aboard 12-1 shot Hon Kwok Star when the gates opened in Thursday's Christmas Handicap in Melbourne, Australia.

He finished the race riding Cogitate, which went off at 33-1.

What are the odds of that?

Jason Patton - coincidentally, Payne's brother-in-law - was thrown from Cogitate when the two horses slammed together on the final turn of the race.

As Patton crashed to the turf, Hon Kwok Star tossed Payne sideways - and directly at the now vacant saddle of Cogitate.

``My hands landed on the other saddle and I just pulled myself up,'' Payne said. ``When I looked up and saw where I was I couldn't believe it.''

Payne said he had a good laugh as he rode Cogitate toward the finish line, but out of the money.

Fontes finally has something in common with the auto workers

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom wrote it after the firing of Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes, who in eight years won only one playoff game:

``The Lions need to stop thinking like a weak sister. This is a plum job, a great football city with a new stadium coming. A coach who comes here and wins could have more job security than anywhere else in football. All the Fords need to do is make the salary competitive with other big-time jobs to lure a prime candidate.

``That is easier said than done. I have great respect for Bill Ford Jr., whose involvement with this process may be the fans' best hope for a proper coach. But Thursday, his father said the final decision would still rest with him, and that draws a shiver. Not a single coach William Clay Ford has hired has been an NFL head coach again. ``And, unless I'm way off here, Fontes will not be an exception.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 28, 1996
Words:304
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