Washington, D.C. International Stakes
|Grade I race|
|Washington, D.C. International Stakes|
|Location||Laurel Park Racecourse,|
Laurel, Maryland, United States
|Race type||Thoroughbred - Flat racing|
|Website||Laurel Park Racecourse|
|Distance||1½ miles (12 furlongs)|
|Qualification||3-Year-Olds and Up|
The Washington, D.C. International was an American Grade I invitational horse race. Inaugurated in 1952, it was raced on turf in Laurel, Maryland at a distance of 1½ miles (12 furlongs), and drew the best horses from North America and Europe. It was held annually until 1994, when it was replaced by the Breeders' Cup Turf.
When it was founded by John D. Schapiro, owner of the Laurel Park Racecourse, it was the only international horse race in the United States. The International burst onto the racing scene and immediately became a world-wide news event. Until then, the idea of bringing horses from Europe and around the world to the United States for a specific race was, unprecedented. J. Samuel Pearlman, Editor of the "Daily Racing Form" and John D. Schapiro, owner of Laurel discussed the idea after the 1950 racing season ended. Less than a year and half later, the concept became a reality.
Usually just called the "International," the race drew the best Thoroughbreds from the U.S. and Europe and was of such importance that in the 1960s, during the Cold War era, horses came from the Soviet Union. In the 1980s the Washington, D.C. International was part of a million dollar bonus given to any horse who won it plus the Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and the Turf Classic at Belmont Park in New York.
Few American horses excelled on the turf but some were specialists, while others built their great records on the dirt and then specifically switched over to the turf for the "International." U.S. Hall of Famer Kelso repeatedly won Horse-of-the-Year honors in the early 1960s and intrigued racegoers world wide with three successive second place finishes in the International. Then in 1964, the mighty gelding won the race in an American record time of 2:23.80. He had given the event international status in Europe by losing it, but then took it to another level (especially national) when he won it at age seven.
The Washington, D.C. International Stakes was raced at a distance of 1½ miles from its inception in 1952 until 1986 when it was modified to 1¼ miles. With the exception of 1993 when it was raced at one mile, the International remained at 1¼ miles until its final running in 1994.
Run the Gantlet won the International in 1971 and his son, Providential, won it in 1979. Providential was owned by Bertram R. Firestone whose wife Diana won the race the following year with her filly, April Run.
During its illustrious career the D.C. International Stakes was won by horses from the United States 22 times, while the race was won by foreign representatives 21 times.
Most wins by an owner:
- 3 - Nelson Bunker Hunt (1973, 1975, 1976)
Most wins by a jockey:
Most wins by a trainer:
- 4 - Maurice Zilber (1973, 1975, 1976, 1980)
Winners of the Washington, D.C. International
- Washington, D.C. International Stakes top three finishers
- October 27, 1952 TIME magazine article on the inaugural running of the Washington, D.C. International Stakes