Chicago Barn to Wire


Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310

Monday, February 18, 2002
11 Days Until Opening Day


Steve Leving, stable manager for owner Frank Calabrese, supervised as a Sallee van containing five Calabrese-owned horses was being unloaded outside Barn C on the Sportsman’s Park backstretch shortly after 8:00 Monday morning. The five join a similar number that arrived on the scene late last week in advance of the March 1 opening for the 46-day meet that kicks off the Chicago Thoroughbred season.

“The five that arrived the other day were out on the track for the first time today,” noted Leving, the former racing official who has been involved with the Calabrese operation for more than a year. “We’ll try to keep buying horses and keep sending them up here. Mr. Calabrese is anxious to run as many horses here as we can.

“We spent the winter with our horses split between Gulfstream Park and Ocala,” he continued. “We’ve been shuffling horses around and have had a good time of it down there. We won four allowance races in a row at Calder before Gulfstream opened (on Jan. 3) and we just had Beware Avalanche claimed away from us for $100,000 (on Feb. 2). We claimed him down there last year for $100,000 and he won four times for us including a small stakes race.”

Calabrese’s private trainer, Wayne Catalano, a two-time National Jockey Club titlist (1988-89), will be on hand for the March 1 opening day, and will then split his time between here and Gulfstream Park, which closes April 24. Former jockey Mary Jo Brennan has been supervising the Ocala string over the winter and will oversee the local operation on a daily basis as Catalano’s assistant beginning later this week.

“Obviously our turf horses will stay in Florida and anything we claim down there has to stay until the end of the Gulfstream meet,” added Leving. “But we’ve purchased a number of horses privately, and those will be able to run here sooner.”

In addition to being excited about the upcoming meet, Leving is looking toward the future with the progeny of Calabrese’s broodmares.

“Justenuffheart has a weaning filly by Crafty Prospector and is being bred back to Rahy. (Grade I stakes winner) Silver Maiden has a 2-year-old colt by Wild Again, a yearling filly by A P Indy and has been bred to Saint Ballado. Great Fever, the French filly Mr. Calabrese bought in 2000, was retired after running third in La Prevoyonte Handicap (Grade II) at Calder and she’s being bred to Theatrical.”




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