LAUREL -- The probable lineup for the $750,000 Budweiser International at Laurel Race Course has dwindled sharply since 24 pre-entries were taken last week.
No more than 13 starters seem likely for the race Sunday, and speculation yesterday was that 11 is a more logical number.
The defections appear due to European interest in the Breeders' Cup races, which offer purses totaling $10 million the next weekend at Belmont Park.
Trainers of four horses considered to be starters here popped up in the pre-entries for Breeders' Cup races yesterday. The trainers are understood to be waiting to look over the opposition before making their choices.
The Breeders' Cup races have minimum purses of $1 million. One horse eligible for the International -- Pirate Army -- is pre-entered for the $3 million Breeders' Cup Classic. Another is Ode, who is pre-entered for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf.
Priolo, Septieme Ciel and Sky Classic are in the International but are believed headed for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile.
Two horses that had been excluded from the International because of small earnings have been reinstated and are likely to start. They are Aksar and All of Me, who have earnings of less than $100,000 each.
A West Coast horse, Classic Fame, was dropped from the lineup because of an injury.
Lady Winner, trained by Maurice Zilber, has been cross-entered into the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile but also is in two races at Laurel. Gene Short, the agent for jockey Kent Desormeaux, said yesterday that Lady Winner will run in the $300,000 All Along Stakes here Sunday, skipping the International.
Desormeaux is expected to ride Ten Keys, based at the Bowie Training Center, in the International.
Entries for the International and four other turf races this weekend will be taken tomorrow at Laurel. The races make up the International Turf Festival.
The races Sunday are the International, All Along and $250,000 Laurel Dash. On Saturday, Laurel offers the $300,000 Laurel Futurity and the $300,000 Selima Stakes.
The tentative International lineup: Batshoof, Creator, Fly Till Dawn, Laugh and be Merry, My Big Boy, Ode, Phantom Breeze, Pirate Army, Ten Keys, Double Booked, Two Timing, Aksar and All of Me.
The trainers of Ode and Pirate Army were understood to be considering Breeders' Cup races.
* Marco Castaneda rode three winners at Laurel yesterday, and his younger brother Kelly rode one.