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Downs to show Cup races and take bets

For the first time Saturday, Tampa Bay area horse racing fans can bet on Breeders' Cup races while watching them at Tampa Bay Downs. The track will show the NBC broadcast of the prestigious $10-million horse racing event from Belmont Park, N.Y., on three large-screen televisions in the three-level clubhouse. Food and beverages will be available.

More than 1,500 people are expected, a Tampa Bay Downs official said. Admission is $1. Parking is free.

"Most people sit and watch it on TV," said Downs general manager Lorraine King. "But now you can bet on the races and yell and scream with people who bet on the same horse with you."

Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and post time is noon. Thirteen races will be shown _ four from Calder Race Course in Miami, seven from the Breeders' Cup, then two more from Calder. The first Breeders' Cup race starts at 1:55 p.m.

For more information, call the track at 855-4401.

The seven Breeders' Cup races are the Classic, the Distaff, Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile, Turf, Mile and Sprint.

Among starters in the 1\-mile Classic will be Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flying Continental, Woodward winner Dispersal, Belmont Stakes winner Go and Go, and Travers winner Rhythm.

Bayakoa, winner of six of nine races this year, is a favorite in the Distaff, a $1-million race at 1[ miles. Also challenging will be Go for Wand, Gorgeous, and Colonial Waters.

Another of the country's top fillies will be going in the $1-million Juvenile Fillies at 1/ miles. Meadow Star, a 2-year-old, has won all six of her career starts.

The $1-million Juvenile for 2-year-old colts over 1/ miles should be more wide open. Best Pal, winner of five of six career starts, and Deposit Ticket, who won three in a row this summer, top the field.

Both the $2-million Turf, at 1{ miles, and the $1-million Mile will be run on grass, and they could be showplaces for European talent. Cacoethes, who made his American debut by winning the Turf Classic on Oct. 7 at Belmont, and Arc de Triomphe winner Saumarez are among the best. Steinlen, bred in Great Britain, will defend his title in the Mile.

Dancing Spree is back to defend his title in the $1-million Sprint over six furlongs. No horse has ever won this race consecutively.

"Angel Cordero will ride Dancing Spree again, and we hope we can do as well as we did last year," trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Entries for each of the races will be made today, with fields limited to 14.

The past three years, the winner of the featured Classic has gone on to become Horse of the Year. In 1987 it was Ferdinand, followed by Alysheba in '88 and Sunday Silence last year. But trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that shouldn't happen this year _ that the honor belongs to a horse that won't even be in the Classic.

His Criminal Type was sidelined with a sore ankle after winning seven of 11 starts this year and $2.2-million, including impressive victories over Housebuster, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence.

Easy Goer and Sunday Silence have since been retired, andHousebuster was sidelined by injury. Another contender, Summer Squall, bled after the Meadowlands Cup and was taken out of training.

"If he (Criminal Type) doesn't win, then I'll start skipping big stakes races," Lukas said Tuesday. "If all you've got to do is win one race, then that's what I'll do."