In what was his likely his last race, Godolphin's Sulamani added to his hefty list of accomplishments when he notched his sixth group or grade I win under a hand ride from Frankie Dettori in the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International Sunday at Woodbine.
Sent off at odds of 4-5, Sulamani became the first favorite to win Canada's richest race since Chief Bearheart in 1997. European challengers carried the day in the International, taking the top four spots.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said afterward that this would probably be last race for the 5-year-old son of Hernando.
"He's a great international horse and top, top class," he said. "We've really enjoyed having him in the stable. He'd done so well for us. I think now maybe is the right time to retire him to stud. Obviously Sheikh Mohammed will make that call.
"Sheikh Mohammed was on the phone to me almost straight after the race and he indicated that the horse has achieved so much, has had so much international acclaim that he deserves a place at stud."
If this is it, the Irish-bred Sulamani would go to the breeding shed with a lifetime record of 9-3-1 in 17 starts and earnings of $5,252,368. And what a way to go out.
Sulamani angled out in the stretch after enjoying a ground-saving trip while settling off the pace. He rallied powerfully on the outside to collar Simonas and Kieren Fallon near the sixteenth pole. He pulled away with little urging to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Late-running Brian Boru, last for much of the 1 1/2-mile journey with Jamie Spencer aboard, was two lengths behind Simonas in third. Shadwell Stable's Mubtaker finished fourth.
The final time was 2:28 3/5 on good going.
After three losses in a row to start the year, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Sulamani defeated Norse Dancer and Arc (Fr-I) winner Bago in his last start, the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) at York Aug. 17, signaling his readiness Sunday. As a a 4-year-old, Sulamani won three group or grade I races, including the Arlington Million (gr. IT) by the disqualification of Storming Home. He finished fifth in last year'b Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.
"He's got an explosive turn of foot, but I was concerned at the time," Dettori said. "Kieren kept me boxed in (with Simonas) and when he kicked he opened the race up for me and I knew through tremendous acceleration that I would get it."
"Kieren had first run on me. It took three lengths out of me, but I managed to close the gap and go the past him pretty easily. He has tremendous turn of foot."
"Sulamani loves to be in behind and the best races he has won, he came from behind," bin Suroor said. "The last two furlongs kept him close and the horse has the speed. He has a good turn of foot."
Burst of Fire had the lead early, clicking off fractions of :24 2/5 and :49 4/5 before being joined by Sabiango who led into the stretch after going 1:14 1/5 for six furlongs and 1:38 4/5 for the mile. Both King's Drama and Colorful Judgment were in striking position in early stretch. The complexion of the race changed completely, however, as the front-runners could not go on and Simonas surged to the lead at the eighth pole with Sulamani busting out of the pack and Brian Boru and Mubtaker picking it up late.
"I kicked hard, I thought we could have won the race," Fallon said. "It would've taken a really good horse to beat me, but we have one in Sulamani."
The Niarchos Family bred Sulamani, whose dam, Soul Dream is by Alleged.
Godolphin and bin Suroor won the 2000 running of the Canadian International with Mutafaweq.
Sulamani paid $3.70, $2.70 and $2.30, but teamed with the longshot Simonas ($11, $5.70) for a $59.60 exacta. Brian Boru's show was $3.60.
King's Drama finished behind Mubtaker in fifth, followed by Senor Swinger, Burst of Fire, Colorful Judgement, Sabiango and Lenny the Lender.