Buckhar and Maryland Moon, the first two finishers of the Washington D.C. International Mile last weekend at Laurel Race Course, are Breeders' Cup-bound.
Both horses are among the preliminary entries for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Mile. The Breeders' Cup will be run Nov. 6 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
The field for the mile is limited to 14 runners but drew 17 eligibles. The lineup will be announced today. Both Buckhar and Maryland Moon made it into the top 14, based on the number of Breeders' Cup points they had accumulated in prep races this year.
Maryland Moon, owned by Howard and Sondra Bender, is the lone Maryland-based horse scheduled to run in any of the Breeders' Cup races. Rhapsodic, a 2-year-old filly that the Benders bred, but sold as a yearling, will run in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies race.
Mike Freeman, trainer of Buckhar, indicated after the International last weekend that he thought the Breeders' Cup Mile might be too close, but apparently he reconsidered. Freeman, who is headquartered at Belmont Park, could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Larry Murray, trainer of Maryland Moon, said: "I can't imagine we can beat Lure [the Mile favorite]. As far as I'm concerned, he's the most impressive miler I've ever seen. We're running for second money. And who knows what the Europeans are bringing?
"But the Benders like to take a shot. Everyone was tickled with the way this horse ran [in the International]. He came out of the race bucking and squealing. We talked about this all day Sunday and half of yesterday and decided to go for it."
Murray said Maryland Moon is scheduled to leave on a flight to California from New York on Monday. Larry Reynolds, his regular Maryland jockey, is expected to ride the horse in the Breeders' Cup.
Basil's Ghost at Marlboro
Basil's Ghost, owned by Baltimore contractor Leonard Engel, heads a field of eight 2-year-olds today in the featured $15,000 Marlboro Nursery at Marlboro Race Course.
Eleven live races and one simulcast are carded today and next Wednesday at the half-mile track located at the Prince George's Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. Because of the live card at Marlboro, there will be no simulcasts from out-of-state tracks today or next Wednesday at Laurel or Pimlico race courses.
Trainer Joe Tuminelli entered Crafty Tarheel as an entry mate to Basil's Ghost but will run only Basil's Ghost. The gelding was unplaced in his last start in the Maryland Million Nursery but faces lesser competition today.
Expected to vie for favoritism in the 6 1/2 -furlong race are Kayacan and Chris's Prospector.
Greg Hutton, usually among the leading riders at Marlboro, has the mount on Basil's Ghost. Albert Delgado rides Kayacan, and Frank Douglas is on Chris's Prospector.
Joe Rocco, 33, usually among the top 10 riders, is undergoing tests at the Laurel-Beltsville Hospital for internal ailments. Rocco took six spills at Laurel/Pimlico this summer. . . . The Air France strike affecting equine shipments out of Paris continues. The Breeders' Cup has chartered its own flight for French thoroughbreds running on its seven-race card at Santa Anita on Nov. 6. The flight is scheduled to leave Paris for California on Monday. . . . Laurel/Pimlico operator Joe De Francis is playing host to two receptions in the Virginia horse communities of Warrenton and Middleburg tomorrow to discuss his plans to build a track in the state. . . . Tim Ritchey, leading trainer at Delaware Park, is expected to bring his 30-horse string to Maryland when that track closes. Among local outfits leaving soon for Florida are Vinnie Blengs, Barclay Tagg, Bill Donovan and Harold F. "Bunky" Schultz.