SBJ/July 30 - August 5, 2001/International

Italian betting agency's stock price on a slide, but its champion trotter is on a roll

Shares of Italian betting agency SNAI are down 60 percent this year, but it's no fault of the agency's favorite horse. SNAI acquired a 50 percent interest in champion trotter Varenne for $1.5 million a year ago. This year, Varenne (also owned by Dany Stable of Naples) has swept the Prix d'Amerique, Lotteria and Elitlopp, the first horse since 1967 to capture three of Europe's greatest trotting races in the same year. Varenne was invited to participate in the $930,000 Breeders Crown Trot at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and received a bye into the final, which was Saturday. The horse has won more than $850,000 this year.

 V8 SILHOUETTE SERIES: Races in Germany's new motorsports series, V8 Star, are attracting 15,000 to 30,000 a date. The series is backed by the holding company of major regional newspaper publishing group Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, based in Essen. The first season of nine races began April 28, and 13 teams are chasing $2 million in prize money. All V8 Star cars feature the same 450-horsepower V8 engine, made by U.S. constructor Jack Roush. There are five distinct body shapes, based on the models of leading manufacturers. The companies have deals allowing use of their silhouettes but the cars are not branded. The most popular German stock car series, German Touring Cars, also uses 450-horsepower V8 engines but is a manufacturers series.

  HERE COMES JUVENTUS: Top Italian soccer team Juventus is planning to become the third Italian club on the stock market, possibly by the end of this year. The Agnelli family of Fiat now owns 99.6 percent of the Turin club. Banca IMI, which managed the IPOs of both Lazio and Roma, the two clubs already on the market, has been named the Juventus adviser. Juventus finished second in the Italian league last season behind Roma in a race that went down to the final day of play.

  BETTING ON YOUR TEAM: People playing England's Premier League-branded lottery are allowed to name the team they want to receive some of the money they spend. Every player taking part in the Premiership Lotter-e (tickets cost a pound, or $1.40) must nominate a club to receive 20 percent of the amount. Six (of the 20) Premier League clubs are taking part, but others are expected to join. The Premiership Lotter-e, with a $30,000 weekly jackpot, has been active for 15 months and is promoted on official club Web sites. ITV Digital has signed a deal to carry the Premiership Lotter-e on ITV Active, Internet service delivered through TVs. ITV will get 5 percent of revenue generated through the partnership.

  ASIAN GAMES RIGHTS: Japanese advertising giant Dentsu signed an agreement with the Olympic Council of Asia for exclusive marketing rights to the 14th Asian Games, set for 2002 in Korea. The deal also gives Dentsu the right of first renewal for the marketing rights to the 15th Asian Games, scheduled for Qatar in 2006.

— Jay Stuart

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