01/26/2009 12:00AM

Calabrese lets Catalano go


Prominent Illinois horse owner Frank Calabrese has fired his trainer, Wayne Catalano, and moved his racing stock to several other operations.

"All the horses are gone," Catalano said Monday from his barn office at Gulfstream Park. "The last ones were picked up today."

Calabrese has said many times he personally dislikes Catalano, a point he emphasized again Monday.

"He made money, I never made money," Calabrese claimed. "He's got character flaws."

Calabrese and Catalano have split up before, but except for 2004, when Calabrese gave his horses to trainer Pat Cuccurullo, the pair has been together since 2000. During that time, Calabrese has seven times ranked among the top 10 owners nationally in terms of wins, and in 2008, he won the third-most races of any U.S. owner. Calabrese is the perennial leading owner at the Arlington meet as well as the Hawthorne fall meet, and the Calabrese-Catalano combination had the most wins at Gulfstream Park both last year and in 2006.

In great part a claiming operation, Calabrese and Catalano had in recent years come up with several higher-end stakes horses, the best known of whom was Dreaming of Anna, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2006.

Calabrese, who now will employ trainers Wesley Ward, Danny Miller, Peter Walder, Larry Rivelli, and Rick Slomkowski, said he plans to remain just as active in the racing game as he has in years past. Catalano said he would try to put together a public stable.