10/03/2012 2:57PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Catalano has used Alcibiades as a prep before

Michael Burns
Although Spring Venture won the Natalma, a Win and You're In for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she is still under consideration for the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Trainer Wayne Catalano has used the Alcibiades at Keeneland as a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup for some of his best 2-year-old fillies, and in Friday’s renewal of the 1 1/16-mile race he’ll send out La Song, his hope for the Grade 1, $2 million BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Catalano won the Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades last year with Stephanie’s Kitten, who one start later captured the Grade 2 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs. In 2009, Catalano-trained She Be Wild was second by a half-length in the Alcibiades, then won the BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. Catalano, who also won the 2006 BC Juvenile Fillies with Dreaming of Anna, said there are several reasons he likes the Alcibiades.

“It’s a Grade 1,” he said. “It’s another race, a little more experience, and with better horses you see how you stack up.”

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The Alcibiades offers good timing for the BC Juvenile Fillies as it is four weeks out from the race. It also is run over the same distance as the championship race and offers a synthetic-to-dirt angle that works well for some horses. In addition, the Alcibiades will feature a large field this year, simulating the potential conditions of the Breeders’ Cup. Friday’s race drew 19 entries, but will go with the maximum gate of 14.

“There must be a lot of horses ready to run,” Catalano said. “And you’ve got that Win and You’re In.”

The Alcibiades is the second of three Win and You’re In races offering berths into the BC Juvenile Fillies. Executiveprivilege, the divisional leader, won the first Win and You’re In last Saturday in the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita. The final offering, the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette at a mile at Belmont Park on Saturday, drew seven horses, led by Dreaming of Julia.

The Catalano-trained La Song comes into the Alcibiades off a runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park on Sept. 8. She was beaten a neck, and Catalano said her effort Friday will determine if she advances to the BC Juvenile Fillies.

“She’s doing well,” he said. “She got the mile the other day, and I think the mile will help us” moving to two turns.

Catalano’s other top 2-year-old fillies, Oscar Party and Miss Lucky Sevens, are candidates for the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Spring Venture’s plans up in the air

Spring Venture earned a berth into the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf for her win in the Grade 2 Natalma at Woodbine, but she remains under consideration for the BC Juvenile Fillies, trainer Mark Casse said. He said she is to run Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile stakes on Polytrack at Woodbine.

“She’s still a possibility for the dirt race,” Casse said of the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Patrick Husbands has the mount and also will be aboard the Casse-trained Spring in the Air, the Natalma runner-up who goes in the Alcibiades.

* Trainer Wesley Ward’s candidates for the BC Juvenile Fillies will both be in action this weekend. He has Almost an Angel in the Alcibiades, while Sweet Shirley Mae, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga, goes Saturday in the Frizette. They are part of a six-horse team Ward hopes to field for this year’s Breeders’ Cup.