Maryland racing will switch from Bowie to Laurel Race Course today, with the $60,000-added Laurel Turf Cup, with 16 entrants, heading the opening day card. Post time is 12:30 p.m. for the nine-race program.
Sea Chimes (118) and El Barril (117) are expected to be the favorites in the 1 1/2-mile event.
Laurel will be open until Dec. 31, when the winter meeting begins at Bowie. There will be 16 stakes races in all, including Saturday's Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and the $200,000 Washington, D.C. International on Nov. 7.
Laurel President John D. Schapiro announced yesterday that Prince Karim Aga Khan has accepted an invitation to the International for his colt Vayrann after the 3-year-old won the Champion Stakes in England Saturday.
Greentree Stable's Open Call, winner of the Rothmans International at Woodbine, Toronto, on Sunday, also will be entered.
These acceptances increased the Laurel International field to seven.
At Bowie yesterday, favorite players took a beating in the Tosmah Handicap, the closing-day feature race, when Contrary Rose, the 4-to-5 favorite, stumbled coming out of the starting gate, throwing jockey Cash Asmussen on the ground. Contrary Rose continued running without her rider and appeared unhurt.
Asmussen, who came in from New York, said, "She grabbed a hind quarter coming out of the gate and stepped all over me. She stepped on my helmet." He was not injured, however.
The Tosmah was won by Phoebe's Phancy, who sped the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 2/5 and paid $14. Her winning margin over runner-up Bishop's Ring was three-quarters of a length.
While Asmussen was having his problems, apprentice Donald Miller dominated the winner's circle in the early races, scoring with five of eight mounts. The victories assured the riding title for the 18-year-old, who will ride the bulk of the horses from the King T. Leatherbury stable at Laurel. Miller wound up with 43 winners while Ron Alfano topped the trainers for the second year in succession with 28 victories.