06/04/2007 11:00PM

Catalano confident his champ still has right stuff


CHICAGO - Well, Dreaming of Anna finally won a race, but is the champ really back?

It appeared on paper that Dreaming of Anna couldn't lose the Double Delta, an overnight stakes race on Saturday at Arlington, and she didn't, winning for the first time in 2007. But Dreaming of Anna, while scoring by 1 1/4 lengths at 2-5, ground out a victory in a modest time, and never showed the turf brilliance she had winning a pair of stakes races last year at 2, when she was named champion 2-year-old filly. Speed figures for turf races run on wet ground can be highly suspect, but for what it's worth, Dreaming of Anna got a Beyer Speed Figure of 81 winning the Double Delta. By comparison, she earned a 95 winning the Summer Stakes last fall at Woodbine.

Wayne Catalano, who trains Dreaming of Anna for owner-breeder Frank Calabrese, acknowledges all that, but still isn't concerned.

"She just needed to get that grass back under her feet, get to the winner's circle," Catalano said Tuesday morning. "She went back to the track today - looks great."

Catalano believes Saturday's yielding course might have worked against Dreaming for Anna. He also noted that she was overanxious and pulling hard early in the race while being restrained by Rene Douglas off a modest pace. Combine those two factors, add in the fact that Dreaming of Anna hasn't been on a regular racing pattern all year, and Catalano believes the filly will be fine.

"I think the next time everything goes perfect," Catalano said, adding that he had no firm idea when and where "the next time" would come up for Dreaming of Anna, who doesn't have any real immediate options at Arlington.

As for the Catalano stable as a whole at Arlington, one word suffices: Awesome. Through Sunday, Catalano had won 16 races from 33 starts, and 28 of those starters finished third or better. The new Polytrack racing surface, much larger fields, some changes in the types of races that are being run - none of it has made a difference to Catalano.

"When we started off, you know, I'm not sure how things are going to go," Catalano said. "But we gathered up a few horses, things started coming around, and I thought, you know what, this could work."

Frank's Time on winning streak

With a horse named Frank's Time, Catalano and Calabrese have the potential favorite for Thursday's eighth race, carded for 3-year-old entry-level allowance horses or $50,000 claimers at six furlongs. The race drew 10 entries, including a coupled entry from trainer Larry Rivelli. The Rivelli-trained Thatsalotofbull, a recent Prairie Meadows allowance winner, also could vie for favoritism.

Frank's Time started his career on the wrong foot, finishing eighth in his debut last November at Hawthorne, and fifth - beaten 20 lengths - in his first start of 2007. But Catalano and Calabrese dropped the horse into claiming ranks, and Frank's Time has won three straight, most recently beating 3-year-old $30,000 claimers over Arlington's Polytrack by six lengths.

"He's just a 3-year-old getting good," Catalano said. "We thought he had some talent all along, but he disappointed me. He just needed a little more time."

The pick in race 8, however, is Tactical Joe, who is moving to a Polytrack sprint after a series of two-turn turf races, while adding blinkers for trainer Ronny Werner.

Race 9 also is of the allowance type, a second-level sprint for fillies and mares. Chris Block, whose nine wins puts him in a tie for third in the trainer standings, has two contenders, Orange Street and Secret Kin.

Maiden winner impresses

No doubt, Steve Asmussen's very best 2-year-olds are not housed at Arlington right now, but the Asmussen-trained Possetothemax looked like a stakes-class horse winning a maiden race Saturday.

Possetothemax, by the first-crop sire Posse, debuted with a solid third-place finish in a fast Keeneland maiden race and made short work of Arlington foes in his second start. He showed good speed after breaking from post 1 and drew away late to win by almost five lengths, his 4 1/2-furlong time an excellent 51.71 seconds.

"I think there's a lot there," Asmussen said Tuesday. "He's a big, strong horse that ran exceptionally well, and off of that, I'm going to find a stake for him somewhere."

Asmussen said Possetothemax hadn't blown anyone away with his morning work.

"He's just come around now," he said. "He kind of surprised us the first time with how well he ran."

Also stabled with Asmussen's Arlington string is Super Frolic, a millionaire who actually has not won a race since the Hawthorne Gold Cup in the fall of 2005. Seven-year-old Super Frolic has worked a couple of easy half-miles, and according to Asmussen is "still a ways" from running.

"His being at Arlington has everything to do with the Polytrack," Asmussen said.

Pletcher thriving

Todd Pletcher's Arlington satellite string continues to produce. Pletcher already has 10 wins at the meet, and he won overnight turf stakes on Saturday with Quiet Royal and on Sunday with Tiganello.

"Had we not been stabled at Arlington, we wouldn't have shipped in there for races like that, but it's opened that avenue up," said Pletcher, who has nothing specific in mind for either horse.

Tiganello fits Arlington's Sea O'Erin Stakes, but that doesn't come up until Aug. 11. Quiet Royal, who has shipped back to Churchill, fits the Modesty Handicap, but that race isn't until July 21.