08/11/2003 11:00PM

Calabrese-Catalano set to strike


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If Saturday is Arlington Million Day, Thursday is Frank Calabrese-Wayne Catalano Day.

Catalano entered Calabrese-owned horses in six of the afternoon's nine races, including two in the featured eighth, a second-level allowance for fillies and mares on turf.

Catalano dominated the trainer standings last year and is doing the same thing again this season. Calabrese wins far more races as an owner than any other on this circuit. The two opened up Arlington with a bang, but this year the operation, by it's own lofty standards, went a bit soft in July.

The brief downturn is inevitable: after running hard for six weeks or so, reinforcements are required. Apparently, they are here. There are some new faces sprinkled in the spate of Catalano entries, but the two horses he put in the Thursday feature, Beautiful Crazy and Valiant Anna, have already have been seen this meet.

Both are 3-year-olds stepping from age-restricted first-level turf allowance wins into a one-mile grass race against older horses. Valiant Anna is preferred, but according to Catalano, the less likely to run. There is a $60,000 stakes race here toward the end of the month that may have her name on it.

"I'm leaning to running Beautiful Crazy right now," Catalano said Tuesday morning.

Beautiful Crazy may do, too. A private purchase this spring, Beautiful Crazy rode improving form into her allowance win June 29, and is probably sitting on at least a similar performance which would make her competitive in a race lacking standouts.

Catalano and Calabrese's main competition could come from Cherokee's Disco, who has California form sufficient to stamp her as a contender in this field. Fourth of five in a July 9 grass sprint at Hollywood Park, her last start out West, Cherokee's Disco moves into the barn of trainer Becky Maker, who is 10 for 42 at the meet.

Canterbury's influence is also felt here. Afleet Angel ships in from Minnesota for trainer Kitty Cheeks, and in her two career starts, both at Canterbury, no one has finished within hailing distance of her. Afleet Angel won her sprint debut by 7 1/2 lengths, and equaled the margin stretching out to a first-level allowance route two weeks ago. By the young sire Northern Afleet, Alfeet Angel is no cinch to handle grass, but could fit with this field if she does.