Joe De Francis rejects suggestions that scheduling the $750,000 Budweiser International just six days before the Breeders' Cup program hurt the Laurel race and should be changed.
One report last week indicated that De Francis, president oLaurel and Pimlico race courses, and his advisers had rendered the International "virtually irrelevant" by opting for television coverage instead of sensible timing.
The report indicated that the International and four other eventmaking up the Turf Festival are ideal preps for the Breeders' Cup, but too close on the calendar this year for use that way.
"It isn't true," De Francis said Friday about the emphasis fotelevision. "We made the decision to keep it at this time, the same weekend in October, mainly because to back it up any farther would bump it into other races such as the Arc [de Triomphe, Europe's richest race], and also we wanted it to provide continuity for horsemen in this country wanting to plan for it.
"So, we kept it the same weekend as last year. I don't think manhorsemen wanted to use our races as preps for the Breeders' Cup races. One horse, Caltech, who won the International, went on to the Breeders' Cup last year and it was kind of an
afterthought, I understand."
Next year, De Francis said, he will keep the Turf Festival at the same spot on the calendar. The Breeders' Cup, scheduled at Churchill Downs in 1991, will be moved to early November.
So, if horsemen want preps at Laurel, they can get them nexyear -- but it would surprise De Francis.
In regard to opting for television coverage, Jim Wilburnpresident of the "Racing Across America" series that shows the International on ESPN, says that's not true.
"When we entered the picture, he [De Francis] had alreaddecided on a date," Wilburn said. "We would have put it on any time he wanted."
Carl Icahn, owner of the undefeated 2-year-old filly, MeadoStar, has pledged all of the horse's future earnings to the Children's Rescue Fund, which provides care for homeless children, and to substance-abused mothers with young children.
Meadow Star is a heavy favorite to earn the $450,000 first-placprize in the $1 million Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies race Saturday, and is being pointed for the Triple Crown next year. So, Icahn's pledge could become a windfall for the fund.
He also has pledged to match any contributions to the fundonated in the filly's name.
Want lots of betting action Saturday?
Well, the place to be is the Meadowlands, which opens at 1:3p.m. with 15 live races and seven Breeders' Cup simulcast events.
After that, Meadowlands brings in 13 harness races froFreehold Raceway and 10 trotting and pacing events that night from Garden State Park.
Marlboro Race Track conducts the first of its two programs Wednesday. There will be another card the next Wednesday.
The Selima Stakes and Laurel Futurity can be seen on delayed tape on the three-hour Budweiser International telecast, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN. The show will be handled by Chris Lincoln and Charlsie Cantey, with the race call by Dave Johnson.
Forget Santa Anita Park as a possible location for the 1992 Breeders' Cup.
The site committee of the Breeders' Cup has broken off negotiations with officials of Oak Tree, which conducts racing at Santa Anita during the time of year the Breeders' Cup is to be run.
The third Breeders' Cup was run there in 1986. The Daily RacinForm reported that negotiations for the 1991 program broke down in a dispute over seating.
David Donk, a young trainer who is in charge of WoodStephens' barn while the "Great One" is on the sidelines, is starting his own public stable.
Stephens, a Hall of Fame trainer, plans to return next spring wita smaller stable.
Forest Angel, who accompanied Daisy Dance from France, is entered in the 12th race at Laurel today, with Kent Desormeaux scheduled to ride.
Forest Angel is conditioned by France's great trainer, MauricZilber.
Great Normand, who paid $364.80 in winning the Meadowlands Cup Oct. 12, was scoring the biggest upset in history in a Grade I race.
The old record was Spellbound's triumph in the 1986 HollywooDerby for a payoff of $176.
Wayne Larkin, 44, is retiring as parking director at Laurel anPimlico Nov. 3. The next day, he heads to Florida "to be close to the sunshine and run a boat cover and cushion-canvas business," he says.
Larking started at the track in 1975 as a part-time parking-loattendant.