Joe De Francis, the controlling owner of Laurel Race Course, said yesterday he has no intention of selling his interest in the thoroughbred racetrack and played down the significance of an $8 million offer from partner Lou Guida that was rejected Monday.

Guida, a well-known standardbred owner, said his investment group likely will make another bid to buy all of De Francis's stock in Laurel, possibly within a few days. Guida, who owns 50 percent of the equity in Laurel as a limited partner, had sought controlling interest of the track by his offer to De Francis.

De Francis, who also owns Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, said he considers the issue closed. "I have absolutely no interest in entertaining any offers to sell my interest," he said. "If he {Guida} has intentions to sell to some other parties, that's his prerogative. . . . He can't force me to sell."

While De Francis retains leverage by owning about 60 percent of the voting stock and 20 percent of the nonvoting stock in Laurel, there are signs of unrest within the ownership at a time when the track, like many, is experiencing a decline (about 4 1/2 percent in handle) in business. Guida sought to buy out De Francis after he was unable to sell his equity in the limited partnership. Additional proposals by Guida are likely to generate more internal rumblings within the ownership group.

De Francis's voting partners in Laurel and Pimlico, Tom and Bob Manfuso, have on occasion expressed dissatisfaction with some management decisions since they withdrew from daily operations last year. Bob Manfuso yesterday questioned the purpose of placing Laurel's richest winter sprint races, the General George Stakes and Barbara Fritchie Handicap, on the same program Saturday to begin a holiday weekend.

"I thought the decision was lousy," he said. The handle Sunday and Monday declined sharply from those dates last year. De Francis said at the time that he thought it a worthwhile experiment.

Although some insiders say relations between the Manfuso brothers and De Francis have been strained for some time, De Francis said, "I think my relationship with all my partners has always been good." Bob Manfuso called it "businesslike."

De Francis played down Guida's action and said any additional offers by him would not disrupt track operations. "I don't intend to devote any significant additional time to it," De Francis said. "I intend to devote my time to this business."

Sources said yesterday De Francis would like to buy out Guida, but the decline in business at his two tracks may not make that a prudent fiscal move.

Guida learned of De Francis's remarks yesterday afternoon and appeared undaunted. "This is America," he said. "There is nothing to keep us from making other offers. Every man has a price."

Guida was among the original investors in 1984 when Frank De Francis put together the $16 million purchase of Laurel and Bowie race courses, the latter of which has ceased as a racing facility. As a limited partner, Guida has had strictly an equity position with no voice in management decisions.

After Frank De Francis died in August 1989 -- leaving his racetrack stock to his son Joe -- and investment partners Bob and Tom Manfuso left active management last year, Guida sought to sell his position in Laurel. Both Laurel and Pimlico have done exceptionally well under De Francis's management team.

Guida said yesterday he is not condemning Laurel's current management team, but trying to protect his investment. Although he declined to reveal his stake in the racetrack, one knowledgeable source estimated it at $4 million.

Guida said he would not hesitate to gain control of Laurel even without Pimlico, in which he has no financial position. De Francis and Tom and Bob Manfuso have the vast majority of voting stock in both tracks, and since the advent of intertrack wagering the two facilities have functioned almost as one.

"The arrangement that exists in Maryland today is unique and efficient," Guida said. "But it does not preclude Pimlico from operating as an independent entity."

If he were successful in gaining control of Laurel, Guida said, he might try to buy Pimlico if De Francis were willing to sell.

But that appears an unlikely conclusion to what may be developing as a power struggle with De Francis seeking to maintain his authority.

Tom Manfuso said that he and his brother have the authority to match any offer for De Francis's stock, and sources said they likely were prepared to equal Guida's $8 million bid had De Francis accepted it.

De Francis, in effect, said such conjecture has no basis and he doesn't envision "any significant happenings" arising from Guida's offer. Reputed Testamony Wins

Reputed Testamony rallied from last to win a $40,000 allowance feature at Laurel. Andrea Seefeldt steered Reputed Testamony (6-1) outside on the stretch, and he passed six to win the 8 1/2-furlong race by nearly two lengths.