Ten Keys, who represents the horseplayer's dream, continue to train at Bowie Training Center for the $750,000 Budweiser International next Sunday at Laurel Race Course.
The Maryland-bred horse was fifth to Caltech in the 1989 International on extremely soft turf.
Kent Desormeaux will be here to ride Ten Keys, a 6-year-old. A year ago, Ten Keys bulled his way to a contending position but wound up losing by nearly seven lengths. Ten Keys can handle soft turf, but also does well on firm turf.
Ten Keys has earned $1,209,211 in a career that took off after he was claimed for $14,500 by trainer Michael Pino for owner Charlie Linhoss.
After the claim, Ten Keys was put on the turf, and Linhoss was on his way to becoming a millionaire.
For years, Linhoss was a racing man only in terms of going out to bet on his days off. He was a carpenter from Alexandria, Va.
But he made a $40,000 score on an exotic bet at Rosecroft Raceway one night, and now he spends much of his time with Pino, watching Ten Keys train and talking about his other horses.
Linhoss and Pino liked the horse's chances a year ago in the International, and his performance in a field of 11 was much better than his 15-1 odds suggested.
This year, Ten Keys will be a much shorter price. Depending on the opposition, he might be second choice. He won five races, all on the turf, this year. They were the John Henry Stakes at The Meadowlands, New Hampshire Sweeps at Rockingham Park, Early Times Stakes at Churchill Downs, Elkton Stakes at Keeneland and the Mardi Gras Handicap at the Fair Grounds.
No local horse has won the International -- but it could happen this year.
* Among the International entries this year is Batshoof, owned by Sheik Maktoum al-Maktoum from oil-rich Dubai, one of seven tiny Arab sheikdoms that make up the United Arab Emirates. Sheik Maktoum had been one of two deputy prime ministers in the UAE until recently.
His father, Sheik Said al-Maktoum, who was prime minister of the UAE, died last week. Sheik Maktoum is crown prince and is in line to take over as premier.
Sheik Maktoum and his brothers, Mohammed, Hamdan, and, to a lesser extent, Ahmed, have been the dominant buyers of yearlings at the Keeneland Sales in recent years.
Sheik Mohammed's colt, Awaasif, ran fifth to April Run in the 1982 running when the race was known as the Washington D.C. International.
* The $275,000 Breeders' Cup Pick 7 will begin Thursday with the first of 37 newspapers printing the entry coupon to be received through the mail by noon Oct. 27, when the races are to be run.
The coupons can be found in Thursday's editions of USA Today and Friday's editions of The Sun and other major papers around the country.
The winning prize is $150,000, which will be divided among those who pick all seven winners or those who pick the most winners in the $10 million Breeders' Cup races at Belmont Park.
The other $125,000 will be divided among those who pick as many as four winners or more. Last year, no one got all seven, but 11 contestants picked six of seven and received $20,454 each. The year before, one person took the entire first-place prize. There were more than 312,000 entries last year.