When the Washington International is run at Laurel Race Course in washington on Saturday (9 November), the "favourite" will almost certainly be the French horse Dahlia.
SV Crest at Laurel Race Course
GV Horses catering and galloping along track (2 shots)
GV Horses being led round paddock
CU John Shapiro Speaking
MV PAN Dahlia walking past camera
MV Maurice Zilber with reporter
CU TILT UP Black-smith shoeing hor???
MV Dahlia being washing down
REPORTER: Laurel race course in Maryland is the site of the only annual competition between international thoroughbred race horses. Nine horses from five countries will run on the grass -- three from the United States, three entries from France, and one each from England, Ireland and West Germany. The President of Laurel Race Course, John Shapiro, created the International hoping to get world-wide flavour.
SHAPIRO: I think the twenty-three years that we have put in to paving and leading the way in international racing is certainly going to put us in an advantageous position, and I hope that our race is going to be what I have spoke about for many years, the world championship. And I foresee the possibility of this being a million dollar race.
REPORTER: And it looks looks a filly might win it?
SHAPIRO: I would think so, yes.
REPORTER: Dahlia, a four-year-old French filly, owned by American sportsman Nelson Bunker Hunt, is the pre-race favourite in the mile-and-a-half event. Dahlia has won more than a million dollars and trainer Maurice Zilber says she's ready to win the International for the second straight year.
ZILBER: She's the only filly who's won twice the King George the Sixth in England, she has won the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup this year, she has been the Horse of the Year in nineteen seventy-two in England, she's the Horse of the Year in nineteen seventy-four, again in England. And I hope we are going to make her Horse of the Year in the United States.
REPORTER: The winning thoroughbred will get about ninety-thousand dollars, and the distinction of being the International Horse of the Year. If Dahlia can beat the course Saturday, laurel Race Course belongs to the ladies.
Ray Davies, in Laurel, Maryland.
SPORT: HORSE RACING
This film is serviced with commentary by TVN reporter, Ray Davies. A transcription is provided overleaf.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: When the Washington International is run at Laurel Race Course in washington on Saturday (9 November), the "favourite" will almost certainly be the French horse Dahlia. Since she began training in the United states on 8 October, she has had three victories in the North American continent, and had successes in five countries.
If Dahlia wins the International, she is almost certain to become the American Horse of the Year. She is already almost certain of the same honour in England, having won the King George the Sixth Stakes at Ascot, and the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup at York. It will be the second year running she has won the English title.
Though trained by Frenchman Maurice Zilber, and running under French colours, Dahlia is nevertheless American-bread and American-owned. Strangely enough, she has never run her best races in France.
The field for Saturday's International consists of nine thoroughbreds from five countries; three from the United States, three from France, and one each from England,Ireland and West Germany.
The man who started the Washington International, President of Laurel Race Course, John Shapiro, hopes that one day the race will have gained so much in reputation that it will be regarded as the World championship race. He certainly foresees the possibility of the prize money eventually rising to a million dollars.