LAUREL -- Twenty-four horses were pre-entered yesterday for the $750,000 Budweiser International, Laurel Race Course's richest race.
Pre-entries also were taken for the four other races that constitute the International Turf Festival. Those are the Selima Stakes, Laurel Futurity, All Along Stakes and Laurel Dash. Conditions permitting, all will be contested on the grass course.
Foreign horses dominate the Turf Festival pre-entries. In the International, 15 are from Europe or Canada and nine from the United States. Only one foreign horse started in last year's International, easily the fewest ever. A planeload of about 18 Festival competitors is expected to arrive next Wednesday, a track spokesman said.
Officials had hoped a South American horse would compete in the International for the first time in 20 years, but the track's invitation was declined when travel arrangements could not be made.
The field for each Turf Festival race will be limited to 14. Starters will be determined by a Laurel selection committee, which will announce the preferred starting fields tomorrow. Owners of pre-entered horses excluded from races will receive refunds of the $3,500 pre-entry fee.
The five-race Festival, inaugurated in 1987, will be contested on the Oct. 20-21 programs. The 2-year-old races -- the $300,000 Selima for fillies and $300,000 Laurel Futurity for colts and geldings -- will be run Oct. 20. The other three will be run the following day.
Total cost to start in the 1 1/4-mile International is $12,500, broken down this way: Original nomination ($750), sustaining payment ($1,250), pre-entry fee, and the fee to enter and start ($7,000).
International Turf Festival pre-entries
$750,000 Budweiser International; 3yo&up; 1 1/4 mi. Sunday, Oct. 21
Air de Rien
All Of Me
Fly Till Dawn
Laugh And Be Merry
My Big Boy
$300,000 Selima Stakes; 2yo fillies; 1 1/16 mi. Saturday, Oct. 20
$300,000 Laurel Futurity; 2yo; 1 1/16 mi. Saturday, Oct. 20
Half A Tick
Rainbows For Life
Share the Glory
$300,000 All Along Stakes; f&m, 3yo&up; 1 1/8 mi. Sunday, Oct. 21
Free At Last
Lady Wishing Well
Laugh And Be Merry
Leave It Be
Memories Of Pam
$250,000 Laurel Dash; 3yo&up; 6 furlongs. Sunday, Oct. 21
Kohen Witha K.