10/17/2005 11:00PM

Money a big lure for International

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Electrocutionist, Massimo Frazzetti up, works for Sunday's Canadian International Tuesday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - With the Breeders' Cup at Belmont still a week away, this Sunday's Canadian International Day at Woodbine will offer the racing world a welcome interlude.

The Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International, for 3-year-olds and upward at 1 1/2 miles on turf, and the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf, both offer record purses this year.

The purses for both races have been boosted significantly, with the Canadian International pot increased by $500,000 and the E.P. Taylor by $250,000.

This year's Canadian International field should contain no less than five Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, a testament to the race's stature. Electrocutionist, a dual Group 1 winner, would have been a leading candidate for this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but his connections, fearing the soft ground at Longchamp, opted to wait for the Canadian International. Yeats and Grey Swallow, other Group 1 winners from Europe, also have been lured to Woodbine along with Simonas, who was second to Sulamani in last year's Canadian International. King's Drama and Meteor Storm both are based at Belmont and have won Grade 1 races in New York, but will be here for the Canadian International.

"I think this year's Canadian International has a depth of quality that makes it one of the best we've ever had," said John Whitson, a former vice president in Woodbine's Thoroughbred division who has continued his International Day involvement in a consulting role.

Rather than being viewed as poorer cousins to their respective Breeders' Cup Day counterparts, the International and Taylor are comparable financially. With the Canadian dollar currently trading at more than 84 cents U.S., the Canadian International's purse in U.S. dollars would be at least $1.68 million, all of which will be distributed to the first five finishers. The winner's share would be roughly $1,000,080 U.S. The nomination and entry fees for each horse add up to $22,000 Canadian, roughly $18,000 U.S, so winning the Canadian International would yield a net profit of more than $982,000 U.S.

The Breeders' Cup Turf purse, excluding any supplements, also is $2 million. After a total of $166,000 in nominator awards is subtracted, $1,834,000 is left for the top five finishers and the winner's share would be $1,040,000. With nomination and entry fees adding up to $60,000, the winner nets $980,000.

The financial angle becomes even more significant if a horse has to be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup. King's Drama, for example, would have to pay a supplementary fee of $180,000 to compete in the Turf, which makes the decision to opt for the Canadian International an easy one.

Similar calculations regarding purses and supplements apply to the E.P. Taylor, but there are aspects other than dollars and cents that make Canadian International Day a worthy competitor to the Breeders' Cup.

Woodbine's training facilities and turf course always have been favored by Europeans, and the prospective weather and going can be factors for horsemen weighing appearances here on International Day against the Breeders' Cup.

There also is a perception that the Canadian International competition may be a cut below that in the Breeders' Cup Turf, a fact that connections of one European and one American shipper both cited as reasons for opting for the Canadian International.

"This race has been one of his targets," said Bobby Dolan, groom and exercise rider for Grey Swallow. "He's good enough to have gone to the Breeders' Cup Turf, but we thought this might turn out to be an easier spot."

Relaxed Gesture, who is based at Belmont with trainer Christophe Clement, will leave his home grounds to seek the Grade 1 victory that has proven elusive on his home circuit. In his last two starts, both in Grade 1's, he has finished second by three-quarters of a length in the Sword Dancer on Aug. 13 and third by three-quarters of a length in the Man o' War on Sept. 10, his last start.

"Since the Man o' War, he's been pointing for this race," said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. "It was between this and the Breeders' Cup, but we thought the competition here would probably be easier."

Dolan and Lorieul both agree, however, that the Canadian International is coming up much tougher than expected despite being so close to the Breeders' Cup Turf. That was the general hope here three years ago, when the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor were moved back to their traditional late October dates after two years of being scheduled four weeks before the Breeders' Cup.

"We always were up against three or four different Breeders' Cup preps," said Chris Evans, Woodbine's director of Thoroughbred racing. "We want the Canadian International and the E.P. Taylor to be able to compete with other major turf races around the world."

The field

Canadian International candidates
Purse: $2 million; 1 1/2 miles, turf; Grade 1

HORSETRAINERJOCKEY
ElectrocutionistV. ValianiM. Kinane
Grey SwallowD. WeldP. Smullen
JambalayaC. Day PhillipsJ. Jones
King's DramaR. FrankelJ. Velazquez
Last AnswerM. KeoghC. Fraser
Meteor StormW. DollaseJ. Castellano
Relaxed GestureC. ClementC. Nakatani
Simonas A. WohlerE. Pedroza
Strut the StageM. FrostadT. Kabel
YeatsA. O'BrienK. Fallon

The field

E.P. Taylor candidates
Purse: $1 million; 1 1/4 miles, turf; Grade 1

HORSETRAINERJOCKEY
Ambitious CatE. CoatrieuxP. Husbands
BarancellaB. FrankelE. Prado
CassydoraC. ClementC. Nakatani
Classic StampD. BanachE. Wilson
FineryW. TurnerJ. Castellano
Honey RyderT. PletcherJ. Velazquez
IotaP. SchiergenM. Kinane
LaticeJ. SheppardJ. Santos
Mona RoseS. AttardJ. McAleney
Noble StellaR. AttfieldE. Ramsammy
PunctiliousS. bin SuroorF. Dettori
Rue des RevesC. AmundsonB. Walker Jr.
Stunning RoseB. FrankelT. Kabel