LAUREL -- The choice of what nation a horse is to represent during the International Turf Festival usually depends on where he is stabled or where most of his races have been.
That's why owner H.C. Seymour thought he would hear "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem, after his gelding, Roman Prose, won the $250,000 Grade III Laurel Dash yesterday at Laurel Race Course.
So Seymour and others were stunned when the band played "God Save The Queen." In other words, track management was saying Roman Prose represented England, although he hadn't been there since August 1989. Roman Prose, based in France, left that country this year only to run in Germany.
When asked about the connection, trainer Jonthan Pease said, "We're all very English," although Pease has his training stable at Chantilly, 30 miles from Paris.
So Roman Prose paid $80.60 as the biggest surprise of the five Turf Festival races, by racing past heavily favored Ron's Victory in the final 16th of a mile of the six-furlong Dash.
Seymour said he paid $22,000 for Roman Prose at Newmarket, England. He has two partners in the ownership. They are Colin Lewis, also an Englishman, and Ed Bransilver, a lawyer from Washington.
Lanfrancco Dettori, who came over to ride Princess Accord in the $300,000 Grade II All Along Stakes later in the day, booted in Roman Prose.
He was fifth on Princess Accord as Foresta won the 1 1/8 -mile All Along by a nose over front-running Miss Josh.
Foresta, ridden by Angel Cordero, is a 4-year-old daughter of Alydar owned by John Ed Anthony's Loblolly Stable. She's strictly a representative of the United States. She's based at Belmont Park.
Anthony paid $495,000 for Foresta at the Keeneland yearling sales.
"We had her nominated for the [$1 million] Breeders' Cup Mile next weekend," winning trainer Tom Bohannon said afterward. "But frankly, it was just in case the turf came up bad here or if she didn't run well at all."
Bohannon said he chose the All Along "so she wouldn't have to run against the colts."
The All Along is limited to fillies and mares.
The Budweiser International is run on a course that requires a finish one-sixteenth of a mile farther down the line after the regular finish line.
Cordero, riding Foresta, kept driving the Loblolly filly to the second line.
"It seemed to me like she caught up with the other filly [Miss Josh]," Cordero said. "But I didn't know if it was before the wire or after the wire. I kept riding to the other wire. I didn't even know which wire we were riding for, I was so desperate to get there."
Cash Asmussen had countered the same confusion Saturday on one of his winning mounts so he kept driving to the second wire.
The International Day card attracted 21,089 yesterday. Laurel had 18,552, and 3,537 showed up at the Pimlico Race Course intertrack facility.
The total mutuel handle was $2,632,129. Last year, a total crowd of 24,051 bet $2,933,457.