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SULAMANI GETS RICH QUICK AT WOODBINE

Sulamani, the super horse from Dubai, looked so good in winning Canada's richest thoroughbred race Sunday that he probably earned a luxurious retirement at stud.

"He's proved everything now," said Frankie Dettori, the England-based jockey who hand rode the 5-year-old bay to a commanding 1 1/2 -length victory in the $1.5 million Canadian International at Woodbine.

"He's done so well for us that I think now maybe is the right time that he retire to stud," added Simon Crisford, racing manager for Godolphin, the Dubai-based stable of the Maktoum family.

Crisford said he had just talked by phone to his boss and "Sheikh Mohammed . . . indicated that the horse has achieved so much, has had so much international acclaim that he deserves a place at stud."

If so, the Irish-bred bay son of Hernando went out in style before a crowd of about 20,000, who bet him down to 4-5 favoritism.

His backers endured only a few anxious seconds at the top of the stretch when it looked like Sulamani -- who spent the early stages of the 1 1/2 -mile turf race boxed in by the hedge -- might be trapped behind a wall of horses.

"There was concern because, obviously, a couple of dead horses were coming back into my lap," Dettori said.

"For a minute I was thinking of gambling and going on the inside. But when I spotted Kieren (Fallon on eventual runner-up Simonas) cutting across, I thought, "He's going the best, let's follow him."

Once clear, Sulamani swallowed 21-1 shot Simonas and bounded to his easy win in 2:04 4/5 over the "good" turf. He paid $3.70.

"He's got an explosive turn of foot . . . I just had to give him a backhand whip. This horse never needs much whip," Dettori said.

Brian Boru was two lengths back in third in the 10-horse field. Next came Mubtaker, King's Drama, Senor Swinger, Burst of Fire, Colorful Judgement, Sabiango and Lenny the Lender.

The victory boosted Sulamani's career bankroll to $5,252,368 and added to his reputation as, in Crisford's words, "a great international horse."

Sulamani's ninth win in 17 starts was his sixth Grade 1 victory in five countries -- Canada, the United States (twice), France, England and Dubai.

Under different circumstances, Sulamani and Godolphin's royal blue silks might have been headed to next Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at what is billed as the "World Thoroughbred Championships" at Lone Star Park in Texas.

But Sulamani's connections chose the Woodbine race instead, partly because of his preference for softer grass and broader turns than will likely be found at Lone Star.

"He needs good ground," said Dettori, who has ridden Sulamani in eight races. "The ground was a key thing and that's probably one of the reasons why they opted to come here because they've got good turf here where Lone Star will be like a road."

After the race, Dettori blew kisses to the crowd before performing his trademark flying dismount with arms in the air.

"Wherever I go, people always want me to do it," he said. "I got a few letters from mothers saying, 'Please stop doing it because all our children are copying you.' "

e-mail: rsummers@buffnews.com

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