Updated on 09/17/2011 6:48PM

Sulamani leads mighty Euros

Michael Burns
Sulamani, a winner of over $4 million in his 16-race career, heads a field of 11 in Sunday's Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sulamani, one of the world's best turf horses, heads a high-caliber European contingent in the 67th running of the Grade 1 at Woodbine Sunday.

The 1 1/2-mile race, worth $1.5 million, is the centerpiece of a spectacular 11-race card, which includes two other top-notch turf stakes, the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and the Grade 2 Nearctic.

Sulamani is trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, the combination that won the 2000 International with Mutafaweq.

Sulamani is a five-time Group 1 or Grade 1 winner, with earnings in excess of $4.3 million. His lone victory this year came in his last start, on Aug. 17 at York, in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, where he defeated the subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, Bago.

According to assistant trainer Tony Howarth, Sulamani ran well in defeat in his penultimate start, finishing third behind Doyen and Hard Buck in the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Diamond Stakes at Ascot.

"It was a tough field," Howarth said. "The ground, being on the firm side, was slightly against him. He's a consistent horse, and he'll run on any ground, but he definitely acts better on rain-softened ground."

Howarth thinks Sulamani has settled in nicely at Woodbine. "He's a well-seasoned traveler, and he knows his routine," Howarth said. "He seems in good form."

Mubtaker, a 7-year-old based in England with trainer Marcus Tregoning, was second to Dalakhani in the 2003 Arc. He launched his current campaign Aug. 14, winning the Group 2 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, but threw in a rare clunker last time, when seventh as the favorite in a Group 1 fixture in Germany.

Assistant trainer Patrick MacEwan said a problem delayed Mubtaker's return to action this year, but declined to give specifics.

"He had a little setback, and we just had to take our time with him," MacEwan said. "He did very well in his first race back. You couldn't ask for any better than that. Things didn't go right for him in Germany. It was his second run after a rest, and I think the ground was a factor - he likes good, fast ground."

The turf here Sunday is expected to be good to firm.

Brian Boru was a fast-closing third as the favorite in the slow-paced 2003 International. He has only a listed win to his credit in seven starts this year, but he ran second last out behind the venerable Vinnie Roe in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger.

Brian Boru's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, won the 2002 International with Ballingarry, who came to Canada off a third-place finish in the 1 3/8-mile Irish St. Leger that year.

The other European invaders are Simonas, a Group 2 winner in Italy, and Ecomium, who is making only his third career start.

Europeans going on Lasix have won each of the last four Internationals. Only Mubtaker and Simonas will run without Lasix Sunday.

United States shippers King's Drama, Senor Swinger, and Sabiango are all in with a shot.

The Bobby Frankel-trained King's Drama earned back-to-back 105 Beyer Speed Figures in September, and is coming off a third-place finish to Magistretti in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont.

"His last race was very good," said Frankel, who won the 2000 Atto Mile here with Riviera.

Senor Swinger relished the soggy conditions when he took the Grade 2 Belmont BC Handicap by four lengths going 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 18.

"The key to success with Senor Swinger is soft ground," said trainer Bob Baffert. "You don't get that in California, so hopefully, that's what we'll get in the International."

Sabiango, a stalking fifth in the 2003 International, could be the pacemaker. He parlayed a clear lead into a pair of victories this year, in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap and the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup Handicap.

Colorful Judgement and Lenny the Lender were first and second in the most important local International prep, the Grade 2 Sky Classic Handicap.

Burst of Fire has won two consecutive 1 1/2-mile allowances and should be forwardly placed.

The Win 4 will encompass races 6 through 9, and there will be superfecta wagering on four races.