10/03/2001 11:00PM

Countdown to the Cup: The Turf (10/4)

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Less than a length separated Mutamam from an upset victory at 37-1 in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. This year, bettors can expect a fraction of that price on the 6-year-old English invader.

Last Sunday, Mutamam become the future-book favorite with one English bookmaker for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park on Oct. 27 with a victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine, his third stakes win in four starts this year.

On Wednesday, Angus Gold, the racing manager for Shadwell Stable, said Mutamam had safely returned to England and remains on schedule for a start in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Trained by Alec Stewart, Mutamam is also being considered for races in Hong Kong and Japan later this year.

"He seems to be in great form," Gold said. "I spoke to Alec Stewart this morning and he said the horse looks good for the effort. As long as everything is fine, we'll be there.

Mutamam was 12-1 with the Coral Eurobet before the Canadian International, but his odds were slashed to 4-1 on Monday. The lowest-priced American horse on the Coral list is With Anticipation, the winner of the Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park on Sept. 8.

Mutamam's only loss this year was a ninth-place finish in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on July 28, behind Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Galileo.

Mutamam rebounded with a victory in the Grade 3 September Stakes at Kempton Park in England on Sept. 8.

"He's a tough old devil and does us proud," Gold said. "He seems to be getting better and better."

Last weekend saw two horses trained by Bobby Frankel emerge as

Breeders' Cup Turf contenders. Timboroa, the winner of the Turf Classic at Belmont Park, and Senure, the winner of the Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita, are candidates. Timboroa would have to be supplemented, while Senure will run if the ground is firm.

"I'll see what the weather is like," Frankel said.

The domestic team for the Breeders' Cup Turf lost a leading contender when King Cugat, who was second in the Turf Classic, was withdrawn Monday because of a tendon injury.

With Anticipation is being trained up to the Breeders' Cup, and is currently based at trainer Jonathan Sheppard's farm in Pennsylvania.

"I think he enjoys being away from the racetrack," Sheppard said. "Since he wasn't going to run until the Breeders' Cup Turf, we decided to give him a few easy weeks."