Someone will have to tell Berry Gordy horse racing...


LAUREL, Md. -- Someone will have to tell Berry Gordy horse racing isn't as easy as it looks to him.

Gordy watched Saturday as Argument, the first horse he has ever owned, scored a one-length victory over The Very One in the $250,000 Washington D.C. International at Laurel.


Gordy, the president of Motown Records, and Bruce McNall of Los Angeles bought the 3-year-old bay colt in Paris two weeks ago for more than $1 million.

'I don't know why everyone is concerned about winning these races. Is this supposed to be hard?' Gordy asked with a laugh after Argument became the 10th French horse to win the 1 mile turf race in 29 runnings.

Argument made it look difficult, taking the lead only in the final eighth of a mile under English jockey Lester Piggott and winning in 2:30 1-5, well off the track record of 2:23 4-5 set by Kelso in 1964. It was the same way he ran in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris last month in Paris when he finished second to Detroit.

It was the third International win for Piggott, who scored back-to-back wins in 1968 and 1968 on Sir Ivor and Karabas. Trainer Maurice Zilber picked up his fourth victory in this race, all in the last eight years.


They had to wait nearly 15 minutes after the race to learn the official result. Jorge Velasquez, aboard The Very One, said Argument impeded his mount as he went wide on the final turn, but stewards disallowed the claim.

'We had no place to go. At the time we were bumped we were probably fifth but not much off,' Velasquez said of the 5-year-old mare who is favored to win the nation's filly turf championship.

Yvonand, representing the United States, was third, followed by It's True, Canada's Ben Fab, France's Buckpoint, Great Neck and Japan's Hashi Kurantsu.

France's Anifa, winner of the $300,000 Turf Classic at Aqueduct two weeks ago, broke down on the final turn and was taken from the track in an ambulance. Veterinarians put her right leg in a cast and said they thought they could save her life.

Argument, the favorite of the crowd of 21,057, paid $6.80, $3.60 and $3.00. The Very One paid $4.00 and $3.20 to place, while Yvonand was worth $5.40 to show.

The victory was worth $150,000, boosting Argument's 1980 bankroll to $464,544.

Argument will go next to California. He has been invited to run in the Oak Tree Invitational at Santa Anita next Sunday, but Berry said it may be too early for the horse to come back.


Gordy, whose biggest champion before Argument was singer Diana Ross, compared racing to the record business.

'It's always exciting to find someone with talent, heart and ability,' he said. 'The thrill in racing was shorter and more intense. But I get as much excitement out of finding a new (musical) group.'

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