Cary Hughes of Northwest Washington, a 38-year-old D.C. letter carrier who won the $4.3 million Maryland Lotto Game last Saturday but didn't come forward immediately because he apparently wasn't sure where to claim his prize, appeared yesterday at lottery headquarters in Baltimore to present his winning ticket.

Hughes, who has worked for the U.S Postal Service for 17 years, showed up at lottery offices, dressed in his work clothes, to validate his winning $1 ticket. Hughes was the only player to match correctly the six winning numbers drawn Saturday.

Lottery official Tom Skarzynski -- who said Hughes was aware that he had a winning ticket but wasn't certain where to present it -- said Hughes will receive an initial check for $216,000 at 2 p.m. Friday. For the next 19 years, he will get pretax checks for $214,000 to round out his jackpot, Skarzynksi said.

Skarzynski said the prize is the third largest in the history of the game. The largest prize of about $5.5 million was awarded last January.

Hughes was not available for comment last night. But the landlord of his apartment building, Ndidi Obaze, said he does not intend to raise the rent on Hughes's one-bedroom apartment.

"If I raise his rent," Obaze said, "he just might buy the building."