10/24/2004 11:00PM

Sulamani not quite Secretariat, but . . .


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sulamani wasn't exactly Secretariat - no horse ever could be.

But when Sulamani romped home in the $1.5 million here Sunday the situation did evoke some memories of the cold, miserable afternoon here in 1973 when Secretariat wound up his career on a note of triumph.

The afternoon wasn't pleasant this past Sunday, either, and Sulamani is a very, very good horse who ended up his racing days in fitting fashion for owner Godolphin, trainer Saeed bin Suroor, and jockey Frankie Dettori.

But whereas it had been well known in advance that the Canadian International would be Secretariat's final race before heading off to stud, Sulamani's retirement to stud did not become official until it was announced by racing manager Simon Crisford on the Godophin web site Sunday night.

Sulamani, a 5-year-old, retires with a bankroll of $5,252,368 and a record of 9 wins, 3 seconds, and 1 third from 17 outings. In addition to the Canadian International, Sulamani won Group 1 or Grade 1 races in England, France, the United States, and Dubai.

Handle up from last year

Sunday's 11-race card produced a total live handle of $4,596,974. Last year, which marked the return of the Canadian International and the E.P. Taylor to their late October dates, the comparable figure was $3,739,259.

Attendance figures have become a wild guessing game at best here, with free admission and the slot machines an added attraction. Glenn Crouter, Woodbine's vice president of media and community communications, estimated that at least 15,000 people were on hand Sunday.

When Secretariat won the Canadian International, the attendance was 35,117. The handle for the nine-race program, when live wagering was the only option, was $1,858,400.

Europeans sweep top four placings

Sulamani's success spearheaded a Canadian International sweep for the Europeans.

Simonas, from Germany; Brian Boru, from Ireland; and Mubtaker, from England, took down the next three spots to give the Euros 97 percent of the purse.

Ecomium, who had shipped over from England for the Canadian International, was scratched from the race after he tied up on Saturday.

King's Drama, trained in New York by Bobby Frankel, took home the fifth-place check of $45,000.

Sulamani a bit tired

Sulamani was slated to head back to Europe on Tuesday along with stablemate Punctilious, who was second in Sunday's $750,000 , plus Brian Boru and Mubtaker.

Tony Howarth, the Godolphin assistant who spent the week here with Sulamani, said the horse was "scratchy, as usual," on Monday morning.

"He feels his races for a few days," explained Howarth.

Puncitilious, on the other hand, was much perkier following her E.P. Taylor performance and is slated for a rest in Dubai with an eye toward a 4-year-old campaign.

"I thought she would have been the horse to bet on this day," said Howarth, regarding Punctilious and her placing here Sunday. "But, the fractions didn't really suit her.

"She's a real stout mile and a half horse, and they didn't go that fast early."

T.J. Comerford, assistant to Brian Boru's trainer, Aidan O'Brien, was uncertain as to future plans for Brian Boru.

"He ran a good race again," said Comerford, who also watched Brian Boru finish third in the International last year. "He just wasn't as good as Sulamani on the day."

Patrick MacEwan, assistant to Mubtaker's trainer, Marcus Tregoning, said the Mubtaker had come out of the race well and was slated to race again next year.

Slow pace in Taylor hurt Ometsz

Simonas, Ecomium, and E.P. Taylor contestants Samando and Ometsz were heading home on Monday.

Rodolphe Collet, who trains Ometsz, believed his filly was compromised by the way the Taylor unfolded.

Ometsz, a 3-year-old filly, found herself on the lead through slow fractions and weakened to finish seventh in the field of eight.

"I'm not disappointed," said Collet, explaining that Ometsz is much more effective coming from off the pace. "She should be much better next year."

Asti, who also shipped here for the Taylor after being purchased privately by Joe Allen, will be going to New York and her new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin later this week.

Dettori headed to Lone Star

Godolphin, Frankie Dettori, and Saeed bin Suroor were scoring their second Canadian International wins and their second wins at Woodbine, having captured the 2000 running with Mutafaweq.

Sulamani benefited from a skillful and patient ride by Dettori, who was forced to make critical decisions at several points during the running.

"I was very confident he would run big here," said Dettori. "But in the big races, you always need a bit of luck."

Dettori will be heading from Toronto to Texas, where he will compete in Thursday's International Jockey Championship and Saturday's Breeders' Cup program at Lone Star Park.