09/29/2001 11:00PM

Mutamam prevails in bumpy International


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - English invader Mutamam prevailed with determination by a half-length over German runner Paolini in an inquiry-filled running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International at Woodbine Sunday.

Mutamam, the 4-1 second choice under Richard Hills, covered 1 1/2 miles over firm turf in 2:28.46. A 6-year-old son of Darshaan, Mutamam earned $900,000 for Shadwell Stable and trainer Alec Stewart, which boosted his bankroll to $1,383,454.

Mutamam tracked front-running Dawson's Legacy through moderate fractions of :25.21, :50.44 and 1:15.32. Strut the Stage, the 5-2 favorite, was bumped by Daliapour while going around the first bend and lost some momentum.

Mutamam overhauled Dawson's Legacy midway on the far turn and turned back a stern challenge in the final furlong from Paolini, who had rallied wide from far back in the 12-horse field.

There were several inquiries after the race. The trainer of Paolini claimed foul on Mutamam for interference in deep stretch, which was disallowed. Zindabad, who finished third, was disqualified and placed sixth for bothering Falcon Flight at the three-sixteenths pole. Daliapour was moved from fourth to seventh for interfering with Strut the Stage.

As a result, Lodge Hill was moved from fifth to third. There was a dead heat for sixth between Strut the Stage and Falcon Flight - both were placed fourth.

"The race went very good for me," said Hills. "He settled down on the back straight and got into a good rhythm. I was just conscious of the horses coming off the pace, so I just booted him up going into the straight. When (Paolini) came to me, my horse dug in deep and lunged again."

Stewart, who sent out Mutamam to finish a close fourth in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill, went into the race with a lot of confidence.

"It was very exciting to win this race," said Stewart. "My only worry was the long stretch. I was hoping that Dawson's Legacy would carry us a little farther than he did. This horse has been with us for a long time. He's not the best horse I've ever trained, but he's definitely the most genuine."

Mutamam ($10.50) headed an exactor worth $102.10. The triactor paid $2,644.50.