09/07/2009 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup may be She Be Wild's next stop


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Soon after sweeping Arlington's pair of 2-year-old stakes races last Saturday, trainer Wayne Catalano said he thought Arlington-Washington Lassie winner She Be Wild would wind up in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, and Dixie Band in the Breeders' Futurity there. But by Monday afternoon, when the dust had settled, Catalano was singing a different tune.

Dixie Band, he said, was unlikely to start at Keeneland, and is probably not being considered for the Breeders' Cup. And while Catalano still hopes to take She Be Wild to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, She Be Wild might well skip the Alcibiades and head straight into her major target without a prep.

"We might run at Keeneland, we might not," Catalano said of She Be Wild, who has won all three of her starts by open lengths.

Catalano noted that Dreaming of Anna won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies after a seven-week layoff. It would be eight weeks between starts for She Be Wild were she to train up to the Breeders' Cup. In any case, Catalano said the talented Offlee Wild filly had come out of her 5 3/4-length win in the Grade 3 Lassie "beautifully."

Dixie Band won the Arlington-Washington Futurity in less impressive fashion, and though he, too, has gone 3 for 3 here at Arlington this summer, Catalano said he believes Dixie Band does not especially care for Polytrack.

"I think he struggles over the track," Catalano said. "The way his feet are built and stuff, he just sticks to it."

Catalano said he is requesting 30 stalls at Churchill Downs for the fall: Dixie Band could wind up there, and train into 2-year-old dirt stakes later in the year.

Catalano has opened a commanding 43-32 lead on Moises Yanez in the Arlington trainer standings, scoring those 43 wins from just 156 starters, and going 4 for 4 with stakes starters here. The strong showing comes in Catalano's first Arlington meet since being fired by owner Frank Calabrese at Gulfstream Park this past winter. Some wondered how Catalano would fare absent the aggressive Calabrese, whose craving for action and winning might be rivaled only by Catalano's. But Catalano now has 45 horses for various clients.

Fayette next for Gran Estreno

Win and you're in? Well, not quite, in the case of Gran Estreno, who is unlikely to wind up anywhere near the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic, a race into which he gained an assured berth by winning the Washington Park Handicap on Saturday. The Argentine-bred Gran Estreno still would have to be supplemented at huge cost to the Breeders' Cup, and would be taking just as gigantic a step up in class were he sent into battle there.

Trainer Mike Stidham said Monday that Gran Estreno was instead being pointed to the Fayette Handicap at Keeneland, a race much more within his class range. Gran Estreno now has won six straight races, and is 4 for 4 since being claimed for $20,000 here on May 1. Gran Estreno was a Group 1 turf winner in Argentina, and in a maiden race in 2006 finished a close second to high-class Asiatic Boy. But after being imported to the U.S. and making one start in 2007, he didn't race for more than a year, and by winter, Gran Estreno had settled in as a $25,000 claimer. But he has become much more than that this summer, with a win in the $99,000 Claiming Crown Jewel preceding his victory in the $200,000 Washington Park.

Stidham, meanwhile, said the promising 2-year-old filly Upperline has gotten over an apparently minor setback that forced her out of Saturday's Arlington-Washington Lassie. She worked a half-mile here Monday, and is being pointed to a fall turf campaign.

Free Fighter finds his niche

Free Fighter will probably be kept in long-distance turf races after scoring an upset win in the Stars and Stripes Handicap on Monday.

"It looks to me like he's found a new dimension," trainer Chris Block said of Free Fighter, who had never raced beyond nine furlongs before winning the 1 1/2-mile Stars and Stripes. Block said the Sycamore Stakes on Oct. 22 at Keeneland is a possible target.