| Contact: Graham Ross
Saturday, July 15, 2000
CATALANO STILL 'THE BIG CAT' IN ARLINGTON TRAINER STANDINGS
There hasn't been a close race for leading trainer honors at Arlington International since Harvey Vanier and Gene Cilio dueled down to the final days of the 1995 season.
This summer, however, as the Arlington meeting and the month of July approached the mid-mark, there were four conditioners within four wins of one another.
Leading the standings through Friday, however, and on the lead most of the way this summer at Arlington has been Wayne Catalano, a 43-year-old Louisiana native who has never won a local title but has accumulated four others at Sportsman's Park and Hawthorne.
Did Catalano see himself as a contender for leading trainer honors when the Arlington season comes to a close on September 30?
"It's going to be tough to hold the lead," Catalano answered. "I don't have the caliber of horses you really need to stay in the competition. It takes a really balanced stable, and as you know, we've been trying to eliminate the cheap ones.
"We don't really run that many horses," Catalano said. "My clients don't really like to run their horses every two weeks, and that's another strike against me.
"However," Catalano added with a smile, "if we stay close up there in the standings until the deep stretch of the meeting, we might try to work something out."
Regardless of where Catalano eventually lands in the standings during the remainder of the Arlington season, it will have been a very good first half for the former top jockey who came up under trainer Jack Van Berg. It was under that Hall of Fame conditioner that Catalano began his career as a hot walker, long before becoming a rider.
"We still have a good relationship," Catalano said of Van Berg. "I talk to Jack every now and then, and occasionally I saddle a horse for him when he sends one to me."
Catalano's success as a trainer has tended to obscure his success as a rider, mostly on the Detroit circuit, in the years from 1974 until 1983. It was then that his jockey career ended due to chronic knee problems. In 1977, however, he was the second leading rider in the nation behind Steve Cauthen.
"But I broke another record of Cauthen's," Catalano said. "He once set a record of 35 successive riding days with at least one win. I went 41 days and never missed the winner's circle (a record since broken by Chris Antley)."
Catalano's best horse to date as a trainer was Crypto Star. Catalano saddled the son of Cryptoclearance for wins in the 1997 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds and the 1997 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. However, one of his personal favorites was Cuzzy Bear, a $5,000 horse that he bought in a package deal and eventually saddled to win the Hawthorne Breeders' Cup.
The best horse Catalano has in training at the present time is Frank C. Calabrese's Justenuffheart. Catalano was asked about future plans for her. "Probably, the Modesty," Catalano answered, speaking of Arlington's Grade 3 mile and three-sixteenth turf test for fillies and mares scheduled for July 30. The Modesty, it should also be noted, serves as the final local prep for the Grade 1 Beverly D. on August 19.
MEET THE JOCKEYS DAY TOMORROW
In recognition of "Meet The Jockeys Day" tomorrow, the first 5,000 guests to pass through Arlington's doors tomorrow will receive a free four-color 8x10 photo of the Arlington jockey colony taken earlier this season.
COUNTDOWN TO 4,000
Arlington jockey Tim Doocy, winless Friday at the local oval, is still six wins away from the 4,000-win milestone. The count through Friday: Tim Doocy - 3,994 career wins, Arlington Total: 19
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