LAUREL -- The $1.6 million Ciga Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is to be simulcast to Laurel Race Course as part of a 14-race betting program Sunday.
The Arc, at the Longchamp track in Paris, also will be simulcasto the Pimlico Race Course intertrack facility. There, as at Laurel, it can be seen on closed-circuit TV and bet.
It's the first time a foreign race has been available for legalizegambling in Maryland. Because the Arc only could be seen live early in the day in the Eastern time zone, Laurel management got permission to fill in with 12 live races.
The Arc will be run first -- at about 11:30 a.m. -- so Laurel will start 1 1/2 hours early. Thirteen races will follow the French race.
Gates will open at 10:30 a.m. at Laurel and Pimlico.
Another simulcast event at the Maryland facilities that day will be the $600,000 Turf Classic from Belmont Park.
It's not a record number of races to be offered for betting on Maryland card. Last year, Laurel took simulcasting on all seven Breeders' Cup races after conducting eight live events. The same format is scheduled on Breeders' Cup Day, Oct. 27.
The Arc also will be simulcast to Arlington International Racecourse in Chicago, in the Central time zone. A Santa Anita Park official said yesterday, "We're considering it," although the California track is in the Pacific time zone. To show the race live, it would mean Santa Anita would have to present it at 8:30 a.m.
"We might open the mutuel system for betting the day before, sour fans can bet the Arc," the official said.
The simulcast to Laurel and Pimlico will give Maryland fans chance to follow at least four horses that are eligible for the $750,000 Budweiser International at Laurel, Oct. 21.
Four of the 22 expected Arc starters are nominated to thInternational. They are In The Groove, Legal Case, Robertet and Saumarez, all based in Europe.
The favorite is the Irish filly, Salsabil, winner of the English Oakand Irish Derby. She is not nominated to the International, but could be brought over by invitation from Laurel management.
The Arc is run on the turf at 2,400 meters, which is 15 yards, foot short of 1 1/2 miles. The winner receives about $1 million.
* Star Touch, a French-bred colt, rallied from last and woyesterday's Laurel feature under Mark Johnston.
An invader from New York, Star Touch carried the silks of TeSabarese. He broke last in the six-furlong race, but moved into second by the eighth pole. Star Touch passed front-running Motivated by Money and beat the gelding by three-fourths of a length.
Star Touch paid $14.80 for his first victory of the year in ninstarts.