One month into Arlington’s 2012 session, the Chicago oval’s normally prolific conditioner Wayne Catalano had only registered four wins at the meeting, but less than three weeks ago he had moved into a tie for the seventh spot.
However, over recent racing days “the Cat Man” has been making up ground like a velociraptor, moving into third position by saddling Gary and Mary West’s Arcade for a win last Saturday and into a tie for the runner-up spot on Sunday with the victory of Darrell and Evelyn Yates’ Emile.
“I bet on that one,” Catalano quipped at the end of the racing day. “Being leading trainer here at Arlington again this summer should be no problem, but my local stable will be diluted a little bit when we send some of our horses to Saratoga. That doesn’t really matter, however. We don’t really care about titles anymore. How many have I won so far? Like nine already? My attitude about titles these days is, ‘Been there - done that.’
“Winning training titles is always nice,” said Catalano, “and I really wouldn’t mind winning another one here this summer, but that’s really not our main focus anymore. What we really want to do is gather up some more good horses – stakes quality horses that can go on to Breeders’ Cup races.”
Speaking of Breeders’ Cup races, Catalano won his first of those in 2006 when he saddled Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Three years later he won that same race with Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, and last fall he captured the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten.
The last named filly was considered for a trip to the recently concluded Royal Ascot meeting, but those plans were cancelled when Stephanie’s Kitten came up with a slight injury.
“She’s still only about 85 percent right now,” said Catalano, who has kept a considerable portion of his stable at Churchill Downs this spring. “I think you have to have your horse 100 percent to go to Royal Ascot.”
What about the remaining Arlington stakes races this summer? Did Catalano have some prospects for them?
“Oh yeah, we should have a couple of horses for those,” Catalano said. “We got a Dynaformer colt that might go in that grass race coming up (the Grade III Arlington Handicap on Million Preview Day July 14) and we got a 3-year-old filly that might make the (Grade III) Arlington Oaks (July 21).
“Also, when those 2-year-old stakes come up later in the season,” Catalano concluded, speaking of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Sept. 8 (and both of which Catalano has won twice), “we should have a couple of prospects be that might be ready for those as well.”
TRAINER TAMMY DOMENOSKY SWEEPS SUNDAY’S DAILY DOUBLE
Trainer Tammy Domenosky won both halves of Sunday’s Daily Double at Arlington and leapfrogged from 14th into a tie for the 10th position in the trainer standings with that accomplishment.
Domenosky, 29, a native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, saddled Joe Bauers and John Wallace’s Jump ‘Ien to win the opener with Rosemary Homeister Jr. astride, and came right back to the winner’s circle after the second race with AJM Racing’s Magic Man with leading rider Francisco Torres aboard.
Also enjoying a two-win afternoon Sunday was conditioner John Haran, who moved up from sixth to fifth in the standings at the end of Sunday’s races.
Haran, 50, born in County Sligo, Ireland, won Sunday’s third race with Eagle Valley Farm’s Prince of Speed and posed for the win picture again after the eighth with Eagle Valley’s Ballyjamesduff.
The latter paid a $111.80 straight price – highest recorded thus far in Arlington’s 2012 meeting.
Both of Haran’s horses were ridden by Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey Alejandro Contreras, who moved from 16th to 13th in the jockey standings with his riding double.