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Holiday Valley Ski Resort

2000 Canadian International
and the E.P. Taylor Stakes

Dateline: 9/30/01

Jockey Richard Hills celebrates his victory aboard Mutamam in the 2001 Canadian International.
In the 2001 Canadian International at Woodbine, twelve turf specialists faced the starter in this key prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Locally based Strut the Stage was sent off as the lukewarm 2.65-1 favorite. Shipping over from Europe were Zindabad and Mutamam from England, Paolini from Germany, and Slew the Red from France. Hong Kong was represented by Daliapour, with last year's Canadian International second place finisher Williams News in from Kentucky to try and claim the big prize he lost last year by the slimmest of margins. Unfortunately, his jockey Patrick Husbands was injured in a fall in the Highlander Stakes earlier in the card and had to be replaced by David Clark.

When the gate opened, surprisingly the 80-1 longshot Dawson's Legacy was sent immediately to the front by jockey Emile Ramsammy, the same tactic he tried in last year's running. Paolini under jockey Andreas Suborics was one of the slowest to get started, spotting the field some five lengths. Dawson's Legacy, taking a rail trip on the lead, set slow early fractions of 25.21, 50.44, 1:15.32, and the mile in 1:39.57, before quickly dropping out of contention. Mutamam, the 4.25-1 second choice, pressed the early pace staying about a length back and a path to the outside of Dawson's Legacy, with Zindabad and Daliapour stalking them. Paolini settled as far back as tenth early on, and began his charge to the front with a half-mile to go.

At the top of the stretch, Mutamam gained the lead from the fading Dawson's Legacy and opened up a length on the field, going 1 1/4 in 2:03.94. Paolini raced three wide on the far turn, going from eighth to second place. In mid stretch, Paolini drew even with Mutamam and tried to collar him but Mutamam dug in and prevailed in the final sixteenth for the 1/2 length win. The final time was 2:28.46 over a course rated good. Zindabad, who had been in third most of the way, would go on to finish third at odds of almost 15-1.

Mutamam with his exercise rider Danny Young wait out the long process of resolving the four claims of foul.
As Mutamam was being paraded in front of the stands wearing his blanket of flowers and an ecstatic Richard Hills raising his arms in victory, the tote board began to light up with "Inquiry" signs. First, there was a Stewards' inquiry involving sixth place co-finisher Strut the Stage and Daliapour for possible interference at the first turn. Strut the Stage's jockey also claimed foul against Daliapour at the same point in the race. Then, the jockey of Falcon Flight, who had dead-heated for sixth with Strut the Stage, claimed foul against Zindabad for possible interference down the stretch. Finally, Paolini's trainer claimed foul against Mutamam for possible interference in the final strides of the race. So, the first four finishers all had Inquiry signs next to their numbers.

After a lengthy inquiry, the official rulings were as follows: "Going into the first turn, the five (Daliapour) came in and bothered the four horse (Strut The Stage), so we disqualified him and placed him behind the four horse (Strut the Stage), and that placed him seventh. Then as they were coming through the stretch, the one horse (Zindabad) came in and bothered the six horse (Falcon Flight), so we disqualified him and placed him behind the six (Falcon Flight) in sixth place. All this time there was a dead heat between the six (Falcon Flight) and the four (Strut the Stage). There was a trainer's claim of foul between the 10 (Paolini) and the 12 (race winner Mutamam) and that was disallowed. There was nothing to substantiate a call."

So, Mutamam was declared the winner, ahead of second place finisher Paolini. Fifth-place finisher Lodge Hill gained third place money through the disqualifications of Zindabad and Daliapour. Strut the Stage and Falcon Flight, who had dead-heated for sixth, now dead-heated for fourth.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place   Show
12   Mutamam            Hills           10.50    5.80   3.50
10   Paolini            Suborics                 8.90   6.40
 3   Lodge Hill         Dos Ramos                      12.20

Winning Time:  2:28.46

$2 Exactor 12-10            102.10
$2 Triactor 12-10-3       2,644.50
$1 Superfecta 12-10-3-4   3,482.90
$1 Superfecta 12-10-3-6   3,877.10
Results Chart from Equibase

Entries and background info

The break of the Canadian International with Paolini in post 10 spotting the field several lengths by breaking very slowly. You can see him here still in the gate while the other horses are already out and starting to run.

The finish of the Canadian International with Mutamam, Paolini, Zindabad, and Daliapour. Mutamam's jockey Richard Hills said: "Mutamam was great. It was a good, honest pace. It's such a fantastic [turf course], especially for the Europeans. With a horse like this, he's got a heart bigger than himself. He really showed that today and stuck his head out. I've very proud to have ridden him."

Another view of the finish. Trainer Alec Stewart said: "It was very exciting to win this race. 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 in the winner's circle after a very long inquiry process. Jockey Richard Hills said, "My horse was running straight. Just right on the line I felt something come very close to me. I think the other horse tried to take a grab for me. But I certainly did not hit him in the face."

Jockey Richard Hills and trainer Alec Stewart with the trophy. When asked about the Breeders' Cup, Alec Stewart said: "We'll seen what [owner] Sheikh Hamdan says. He'll make the call. He'll be thrilled with this result."

Mutamam in the walking ring heading for the track.

Paolini in the walking ring. His jockey Andreas Suborics said: "I came out of there very fast to get a good position. When we came into the straight, I came very good, was making good headway and there was a big fight for the win. I think the jockey from the winner hit my horse in the head." Richard Hills denied hitting Paolini.

Zindabad, who finished third in the post parade. He was disqualified to sixth for interfering with Falcon Flight in the stretch.

Local hero Lodge Hill was the beneficiary of the two disqualifications and moved up from fifth to third place.

There was a second Grade 1 race on the card, the E.P. Taylor Stakes for the female turf specialists. The winner was longshot Choc Ice over Volga, and Spring Oak. For details and more photos, check here.

Also on the card was the $150,000 Grade 3 Highlander Handicap for the sprinters. Heavy favorite Wake at Noon disappointed with a dull fifth place finish while second favorite at 4.20-1 Mr. Epperson won by 1 1/4 lengths over Olympian and Tempered Appeal in 1:10.65 for six furlongs. Results chart from Equibase.

Canadian International and E.P. Taylor Stakes links:

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All photos ©2001 Cindy Pierson Dulay and Terence Dulay, licensed to About. Canadian International logo courtesy of Woodbine Entertainment.

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