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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/4/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington’s perennial leading trainer Wayne Catalano and his wife Renee will be cheering for a “Special Victory” in Friday’s fifth race.

That’s when their 2-year-old filly who bears that name will attempt to break her maiden in her third career start. Whatever purse the daughter of Victory Gallop might earn will be donated by the Catalanos to jockeys Michael Straight and Rene Douglas – both of whom suffered serious injuries in racing accidents at Arlington Aug. 26 and May 23 respectively.

“My wife really did it all,” said Catalano Friday morning during training hours when asked to confirm their attempt to help defray the continuing medical expenses. “It was all her idea. She asked me what I thought about it I said, ‘Fine. We’ll do whatever you want to do.’

“So hopefully, the race will really be a special victory for all of us,” Catalano concluded.

On Saturday, SMILE Stable’s More Than Able will go to the post in the fourth race of the day for trainer Jan Ely, and that acronymic compilation of first letters of the surnames of that group will donate a portion of any earnings More Than Able might earn to Michael Straight. The injured rider rode More Than Able to his maiden win June 7 and had been aboard the gelding in his last four starts.

Straight’s twin brother Matthew, who drove to Chicago from Ellis Park immediately after the injury, will ride More Than Able Saturday.

“I work for some really nice people,” said trainer Ely – who serves as the “E” in the Smile Stable. (The owners who make up the rest of the acronym in the order in which they appear are Janine Starykowicz, Kim Molinaro, Bruce Irti, Darrell Luxmore and Rob McKenzie.)

“Michael did a great job for us,” said Ely. “He’s a really nice guy and Matthew is just like him. The Jockeys’ Guild has designated Saturday as Michael Straight Day (with jockeys asked to donate one mount fee for the afternoon). Matt wanted to participate and the owners of SMILE Stable agreed without hesitation. Hopefully, the horse will have big earnings Saturday.”


Louie Roussell III and Ronnie Lamarque’s Recapturetheglory, who won the Grade II Illinois Derby last year and then ran fifth in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, will attempt to return to that form in Labor Day Monday’s $100,000 Sea o’ Erin Stakes at one mile over Arlington’s world famous turf course.

The Sea o’ Erin, which served as the local preview for the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships were contested at Arlington in 2002, is observing its 22nd renewal Monday and is one of four stakes races – two of them graded – scheduled for Labor Day at Chicago’s northwest suburban oval.

Trained by Roussel, Recapturetheglory will be coupled in the wagering with Roussel’s Brothers Nicholas in the Sea o’Erin, with Chicago-born jockey E. T. Baird named aboard both halves of the entry.

In his last trip to the post July 16, Recapturetheglory won a conditioned allowance race by a length and a half over the grass at Arlington when going the one-mile distance, while Brothers Nicholas has not started since finishing third in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Mineshaft Handicap last Feb. 7 in New Orleans.

Capable of providing strong competition for Recapturetheglory is Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, coming off a second-place finish in a conditioned allowance race at Saratoga Aug. 9. The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow won last year’s Grade II American Derby and then ran third in Arlington’s 2008 Grade I Secretariat Stakes. James Graham will ride the Greg Fox trainee.

Not to be discounted is Robert Yagos’ Spotsgone, who won the 2007 Sea o’ Erin and will be trying to become the first horse to win two different renewals of the Chicago fixture. Spotsgone, trained by Jinks Fires, most recently captured an allowance race July 18 at Arlington by four lengths when going a mile and a sixteenth over the local Polytrack. Spotsgone will be ridden by Fires’ son-in-law Jon Court.

Completing the field is Wachtel Stable, Brous Stable and Jerry Lee’s Desert Wheat, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott with Eddie Razo named in the irons; Peter Karahalios’ Public Speaker, trained by Dale Bennett with Junior Alvarado up; Frank Calabrese’s Exchanging Kisses, trained by Danny Miller with Quincy Hamilton in the saddle; Loretta Clark’s P D Q Kiddo, conditioned by Hector Magana with Inez Karlsson astride; and Amerman Racing Stables’ Demarcation, trained by Paul McGee with Chris Emigh aboard.

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