01/26/2005 12:00AM

Sulamani said to give year's top show


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sulamani turned in the best performances by a horse who raced in Canada last year, according to the 2004 Canadian Thoroughbred Ratings released by the Jockey Club of Canada on Wednesday.

The Canadian Thoroughbred Ratings, which replaced the Canadian Free Handicap last year, closely follow the SMILE (Sprint-Mile-Intermediate-Long-Extended) distance categories employed in the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, previously known as the International Classification.

Sprint ratings cover races up to seven furlongs, Mile distances include those greater than seven furlongs and less than 1 3/16 miles, and Intermediate distances range from 1 3/16 miles to 1 5/16 miles.

On the Canadian model, the Long and Extended categories are combined, because of the dearth of Extended races, and therefore cover any distance longer than 1 5/16 miles.

Any horse who competed in a Canadian stakes race in 2004 was eligible to be rated on his best performance in any distance category anywhere in the world, whereas last year only races in North America were considered.

Sulamani's victory in England's 1 5/16-mile Juddmonte International earned him an Intermediate rating of 123 and a tie for ninth place in the overall World Thoroughbred Rankings.

That number put Sulamani atop the Intermediate turf list in Canada, and his subsequent success in Woodbine's 1 1/2-mile Canadian International was ranked as the best performance within the country this year, with a 121 rating on the Long/Extended turf list.

"That was the highlight of our season," said Chris Evans, Woodbine's vice president of Thoroughbred racing, who is a member of the World Thoroughbred Rankings panel and the architect of the Canadian Ratings.

"I was highly elated to see a horse of that caliber coming here and delivering that kind of performance," he said.

Evans also pointed out that Sulamani's Canadian International rating equaled that of the Breeders' Cup Turf winner, Better Talk Now, which was tops among older turf horses in the United States.

The Canadian International runner-up, Simonas, and fourth-place finisher, Mubtaker, were rated second at 117 on the L/E list, although Mubtaker's number was based on his win in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at York.

Soaring Free, Canada's Horse of the Year, topped both the Sprint turf and Mile turf categories at 114. His Sprint numbers were assigned for both the Highlander and the Ontario Jockey Club.

But it was Soaring Free's fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park, rather than his success in Woodbine's Atto Mile, that was designated as his top-rated Mile effort.

Mobil, Canada's champion older male, earned his best rating for his second-place finish in Woodbine's Chinese Cultural Centre, a 1 3/8-mile race for which he was given a 113 in the Long/Extended turf category.

But, Mobil's win in the seven-furlong Vigil earned him a share of the top dirt Sprint ranking of 109 along with Chris's Bad Boy.

Mobil also headed the list in the Mile dirt division with a 110 for his second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup and in the Intermediate dirt category with a 112 for the Dominion Day.

Weight concessions and a beaten-lengths formula are factored into the ratings, which explains why Mobil was ranked above the winners of both the Durham Cup and the Chinese Cultural Centre.

Two-year-olds are not ranked by distance or surface but simply assigned a rating for their best performance.

Flamenco, winner of Woodbine's Victoria, topped the males with a 109 earned for both his win in Belmont's Cowdin and for his third in Saratoga's Hopeful.

Paddy's Daisy, fourth in Woodbine's Natalma, headed the filly list at 107 based on her subsequent score in Hollywood's Miesque.