In the chill of yesterday morning, Nikolai Nasibov was steaming. The Soviet trainer, one of the Washington, D.C. International's more colorful principals, got a taste of the U.S. handicapping system and found it unsavory.

Nasibov, who has lauded the good will of Laurel Race Course officials, took umbrage over racing secretary Larry Abbundi's weight assignment for Star in the $30,000 Bald Eagle Handicap, the 10th race on today's 11-race program. (Star's stablemate, Gjatsk, will run in the eighth-race International.)

Star was assigned 123 pounds for the Bald Eagle -- at least eight more than any of the other 14 original entries. Bagetelle, second to Little Bold John in the Budweiser Maryland Classic and a winner of $163,725 in 1987, was second highweight at 115. Star has earned $4,853 this year, winning three "prize" races in seven starts.

"That's not right," Nasibov said quietly but with conviction through interpreter Steve Frank when informed of the weights. "If they don't make it 120, I'm going to take him out of the race. It's no good. Crazy American system."

Reminded that Star had beaten stakes horses back home, Nasibov said, "Star beat bad horses. They're not that good."

Gjatsk was one of them.

Reminded that Star had carried 126 or 128 pounds in each of his starts this year, Nasibov said, "That doesn't matter. He should carry 119 or 120."

Reminded that Star's jockey, Marat Kojomzharov, probably couldn't make that weight, Nasibov said, "He can do 115 or 116."

Laurel president Frank De Francis, walking into the International compound, attempted to console Nasibov, but said altering the weights was impossible.

Nasibov paused. "I would never let him go with this much weight again," he said, "but this time I will."

De Francis said he would understand if Nasibov wanted to scratch the horse.

"No," Nasibov said. "That wouldn't be comfortable for you or myself." Then he smiled.

On handicapping Star for the Bald Eagle, Abbundi said, "It wasn't easy, but he had been carrying 126 and 128, and he beat a horse in the International. On the basis of that, I took five pounds off him.

"But who knows how good he is or any of the horses over there are? There's no way I or any other handicapper in the country can approach the situation with any certainty."

Two local jockeys have mounts in the International. National leader Kent Desormeaux will be on U.S. representative Great Communicator, Mario Pino on the Polish colt Omen.

Marek Grzybowski, a Polish breeder, said his contingent selected Pino after reviewing race films. He said the Poles sought an American jockey for three reasons.

"One, the local jockey knows the track very well," Grzybowski said, "and we guess that's very important. Two, the style of riding here is a little bit different. In Poland, the races are generally longer. The riders are used to going slowly in the beginning, then in the last quarter-mile going to a hard finish. Three, it's been about one month since the races in Poland finished. Our jockey would have to get down too much {in weight}. It would be a disadvantage."

Laurel accepted advance wagering on the International yesterday, and, with about $6,000 in the win pool at program's end, Le Glorieux of West Germany was the 3-to-2 favorite. The others: Talakeno (U.S.), 4-1; Stately Don (U.S.), 7-1; Blue Finn-Grey Classic (Canada) coupled entry, 10-1; Dastaan (France)-Southjet (U.S.) field entry, 11-1; Risk Me (England), 12-1; Motley (France), 14-1; Omen, 19-1; Anka Germania (U.S.), 21-1; Libertine (France), 21-1; Great Communicator, 27-1; Gjatsk, 64-1.