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Frankie Dettori makes his famous leap from Mutafaweq after winning the Canadian International
Canadian International
and the E.P. Taylor Stakes

Dateline: 10/15/00


Despite the cold damp conditions at Woodbine on Sunday, Frankie Dettori brightened things up by giving Canadian racing fans their first taste of his flying dismount after winning his first Canadian International. The finish was very close, as his mount Mutafaweq, the second betting choice at 4-1, engaged in a furious stretch duel with Williams News under top local jockey Patrick Husbands and won in a very close photo finish. On the replay it appeared that Williams News was ahead of Mutafaweq but where it counted most, Dettori's horse had his head down while Husbands' was up. Mutafaweq certainly lived up to his name, which translates to "always the best, always the winner".

As expected, local speedsters Free Vacation and then Dawson's Legacy would go to the front early, leading the field through an opening quarter in a respectible 24.10, the half in 49.71, and three quarters in 1:14.62 before dropping back. 5-4 favourite Daliapour, owned by the Aga Khan and with Arc winning jockey Johnny Murtagh aboard, stalked the leaders most of the way and took the lead with a half mile to go, going the mile in 1:39.91. With a quarter of a mile to go, the 1 1/4 miles run in 2:04.52, Daliapour was on the rail, Mutafaweq was a path to his outside, and the hard-charging 13-1 longshot Williams News, who had been in 6th most of the way, had finally caught up with the leaders and was immediately to the outside of Mutafaweq. By mid-stretch Daliapour was weakening and had dropped back to 4 lengths behind the now-duelling Williams News and Mutafaweq. Just inside the 1/16 pole it looked like Mutafaweq was beat but under urging from Frankie Dettori, he hung on for the win by the thinnest of margins, stopping the timer in 2:27.62 for the 1 1/2 mile classic on a turf course rated firm. German invader Caitano was slowest out of the gate and was as far back as 11th at the halfway point of the circuit but finished well to get 4th place with a three-wide rally on the far turn.

Canadian International
Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
 5   Mutafaweq          Dettori         10.10    5.50  3.80
 3   Williams News      Husbands                10.90  6.30
11   Daliapour          Murtagh                        2.70

Winning Time:  2:27.62

$2 Exacta 5-3                83.50
$2 Trifecta 5-3-11          308.30
Results Chart from Equibase

The field leaves the gate in the 2000 Canadian International. Caitano, in post 7, was slowest out of the gate and spotted the field some 6 lengths at the start.

The very close finish in the International, with Mutafaweq (inside, hidden) getting his nose down before Williams News (outside). The time of 2:27.62 is the second fastest International since the race was switched to 12 furlongs, and the margin of victory the closest since 1954 when it was run on dirt.

Mutafaweq in the post parade. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said about his trainee: "He is doing very good. I can see the horse, he looks better than he was really in England. He handled the ground really well. I checked the ground early this morning, and it was firm for him. That's what he likes and the distance is what he likes."

Longshot Williams News in the paddock. Jockey Patrick Husbands said: "I think my horse had a perfect trip, he ran his race well, and ran his eyeballs out. After the wire, Frankie told me ‘congratulations' and I really thought I won the race."

Daliapour in the post parade. Jockey Johnny Murtagh said: "We had a perfect trip. We sat in third and had good position all the way. Around the bend, I hit the front, my horse was going well, Frankie with the winner (Mutafaweq) quickened by me but my horse ran very well." The Aga Khan has had some tough luck in this race, having three seconds in the 1980's.

Caitano in the paddock wearing his Canadian International blanket. Jockey Andrasch Starke said "I lost a lot at the start, but he always starts slowly and I lost a few lengths at the start. We ran into some trouble, but really he ran fairly well."

Frankie Dettori said: "I definitely thought I lost and I thought this has not been a great day for me to come all the way here and get beat only a few inches. When my number came up, it was a double surprise because I thought I lost the first time. When my number came up it was like winning two races."

Trainer bin Suroor added: "He handled the ground really well. I checked the ground early this morning, and it was firm for him. That's what he likes and the distance is what he likes. We will see how he comes out of the race before we decide where he goes next." He did not say where he would be entered next; it appears he is keeping his options open with his two turf stars Mutafaweq and Fantastic Light.

E.P. Taylor Stakes

The distaff side was represented on the card, in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes run at 1 1/4 miles over the turf course. The race drew a compact field of six, including the highly regarded Lady Upstage who was coming off a third place finish in the Prix de l'Opera to top filly Petrushka. She and New York invader Innuendo were co-favoured at 2-1. In mid stretch, early speedster Lady At Peace was packing it in and the two favourites were battling up front for the lead. However, under Todd Kabel, local longshot Fly For Avie was coming on strongly and when the threesome hit the finish in 2:02.78. Noses separated them with Fly For Avie getting the winning nod, Lady Upstage second and Innuendo third. Only 2 1/2 lengths separated the field at the finish.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
 5   Fly for Avie       Kabel           18.20    5.90  3.30
 8   Lady Upstage       Hills                    3.70  3.10
 7   Innuendo           Dettori                        2.60

Winning Time:  2:03.78

$2 Exacta 5-8                96.90
$2 Trifecta 5-8-7           185.40
Results Chart from Equibase

The finish of the E.P. Taylor Stakes, the threesome just noses apart.

Fly for Avie's jockey Todd Kabel said: "I was waiting for the longest time before I swung her over heels to get out. I was certainly worried. I went for an opening turning for home and she wouldn't go through. I was hoping that the horses would spread apart down the lane and they didn't. I had only one choice left to jump heels and thank God I got up in time."

Lady Upstage's regular rider Michael Hills said: "She just got beat in the last 50 yards, right on the line. I had a great trip, a beautiful ride around, I just got beat at the wire. She ran well."

Jockey Frankie Dettori on Innuendo said: "She ran beautifully. She's very happy, she hasn't raced for three months, so she's just a touch rusty, but she's a fighter and she fought all the way down to the last few strides."

Fly For Avie's connections celebrate as their number is posted on top on the toteboard. Trainer David Bell said: "She was very impressive. She doesn't usually have that sort of turn of foot that late in the race. It was perfect today. She's matured into a nice filly. Earlier in her career she didn't quite put it together."

Fly For Avie with her blanket of flowers. Added trainer Bell: "The guys in the barn have done a great job with her lately to get her in top shape. We haven't talked about anything for the future, now we can. It was awesome."

Also on the undercard was the Grade 3 Highlander Handicap, a 6 furlong sprint over the main track. Local hero Wake At Noon led every step of the way under jockey David Clark, stretching his lead to as much as 5 lengths and holding on to win by 3/4 length over a late-charging Silky Sweep.

Wake At Noon in the winner's circle. Jockey David Clark said: "He broke sharply and basically just cruised around. He's a very nice horse that goes out there and just does his thing." Trainer Abraham Katryan hopes to enter Wake At Noon in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Canadian International and E.P. Taylor Stakes links:

On the Forum:

All photos by the author except where noted, Canadian International logo courtesy of Ontario Jockey Club

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