The Maryland attorney general's office will investigate allegations that three of the state's leading horse trainers have a mutual agreement not to claim horses from each other in claiming races, a violation of state law.

Assistant Attorney General Alan Foreman, who will direct the investigation, said he hopes for a thorough investigation of all the issues.

"I want to find out as much about this as I possibly can," said Foreman.

Foreman said he will talk to the three trainers figuring most prominently in the allegations -- King T. Leatherbury, Richard E. Dutrow and Richard W. (Bud) Delp -- whose stables have produced most of the Maryland's winning horses over the last 12 years.

"But I also plan to talk to anyone else who has any relevant information," Foreman said.

On Monday, the Thoroughbred Board of the State Racing Commission voted, 4 to 0, to request the investigation following publication of a story in Baltimore's Evening Sun that said state records indicated the three trainers did not claim any horses from each other during 1980.

Board Chairman Robert W. Banning said rumors of an agreement among the three top trainer not to claim each other's horses have persisted in Maryland racing circles for several years.

He said the board acted Monday in an effort to clear up the situation following publication of the newspaper story.