Frankie Dettori makes his famous leap from Mutafaweq after winning the Canadian International
and the E.P. Taylor Stakes
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.
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 5-3-11 308.30Results 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
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 5-8-7 185.40Results 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
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:
- Canadian International - official page from the OJC
- Emirates World Series Racing Championship - the International is part of this series so lots of info here (only works properly in Internet Explorer)
- Past Performances - in Adobe Acrobat format for the International from the Daily Racing Form (available starting late Friday)
- Canadian International Special from Equibase with free program, past performances, ChartPlus, and articles
- Woodbine Stable Notes - lots of Canadian International info now and updated frequently
- Glenners' Picks - available Saturday
- Current weather
- Scratches and changes
- Results Charts from Equibase (available late Sunday)
- SLAM! Horse Racing - Canadian horse racing coverage TSN Horse Racing - Canadian and general horse racing news
- News Index Search - should pick up some articles from the various online news sources
- Toronto - a look at the city from About.com guide Terri Paajanen
- 1999 Canadian International coverage - lots of pictures from that and the E.P. Taylor Stakes last year
- More about racing in Canada
All photos by the author except where noted, Canadian International logo courtesy of Ontario Jockey Club