Saturday's running of the Washington, D.C. International at Laurel is not likely to be won by a U.S. entry. An analysis of the race shows a foreign horse is likely to win it for the 18th time in its 33 runnings.
The six U.S. entrants this year are good horses, but do not measure up to the caliber of the foreigners.
Strawberry Road II, the Australian entry and probable favorite, led until midstretch in the prestigious Arc de Triomphe in Paris earlier this month, only to tire and finish fifth in the 22-horse field. The 5-year-old worked a solid 1 1/2 miles yesterday and it will take a good horse to beat him.
Treizieme, the lone 3-year-old filly in the 11-horse field, won a Grade 1 stake in only her second start in France last year.
The daughter of The Minstrel has since beaten, or run close to, the best horses in Europe and looked strong in her local workouts.
Alphabatim, a 3-year-old colt who has been racing in England, has also won a Grade 1 stake. He will be ridden here by Donald Miller.
Another foreigner with good credentials is Seattle Song, a son of Seattle Slew who won several Grade 1 races in France.
However, the colt has not been impressive in his final preparations for the 1 1/2-mile International.
Of the U.S. entrants, Ends Well, an improving colt belonging to the Greentree Stable, is the best. The son of Lyphard overcame severe traffic problems in the Rutgers Handicap at the Meadowlands, a Grade 2 event, to defeat some solid turf performers. He will again be ridden by Jorge Velasquez, who has done well in previous Internationals.
The only other U.S. entry with a good chance is the 4-year-old filly Persian Tiara. She beat male rivals in the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap last spring at Pimlico and is coming into the International with a victory over a quality field of female runners in the Golden Harvest Handicap in Louisiana.
The choice here is the Treizieme, who has never been worse than third in six starts. Second place should go to Strawberry Road II, based on his overall class.