11/26/2007 12:00AM

Catalano doing more with less

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - Seven trainers have started more horses at the ongoing Hawthorne meet than Wayne Catalano - but as of last weekend, nobody had won more.

Coming off his annual Arlington training title, Catalano is subtly having a remarkable run at Hawthorne, winning races with a weird mishmash of stock. A lot of the horses figured to be worn out after the summer, while Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese have not replaced claimed horses at nearly the rate they do at Arlington.

Yet there sits Catalano's name atop the leaderboard, with 23 victories heading into another week's racing at Hawthorne. Catalano has a two-win lead over Frank Kirby. Kirby's barn, it must be noted, has sent out 139 starters to 69 for Catalano - a difference of 70, for those counting at home.

And yet it is all about to come to an end. Catalano already has sent five horses to Gulfstream, where he has 29 stalls this winter.

"We won't be running all that many too long now," Catalano said Monday. "We're about done up there."

Another load of stock will head to Gulfstream in about a week, Catalano said. The rest will trickle south, until only 15-20 remain in Chicago - probably not enough to snatch the training title here away from more fully stocked barns. But who knows?

Meanwhile, Dreaming of Anna has joined Catalano's Florida string, having rested up since her second-place finish in the Oct. 13 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Dreaming of Anna's form was validated when the filly who beat her there, Bit of Whimsy, came right back to capture the Mrs. Revere at Churchill.

Lewis Michael and the 2-year-old filly Dreaming of Liz are getting downtime at a farm and should ship into Gulfstream "in about a month," Catalano said.

Plans for Cloudy's Knight undecided

Cloudy's Knight, winner of the Grade 1 Canadian International at Woodbine in his most recent start, has left trainer Frank Kirby's rural training center and is based again at Hawthorne, Kirby said, but his connections still haven't formulated a definite near-term plan. Kirby said he still favored a start in the McKnight Handicap at Calder over the Hollywood Turf Cup at Hollywood Park, but that Cloudy's Knight wasn't certain to start in either race.

"If I don't run at Calder, I could give him a little more time," Kirby said. "He's at the track, just came back in four or five days ago."

Plans are more certain for Ciao, who was a good second in the Mrs. Revere in her last start: Ciao is done for the year.

"We're going to give her a couple months break, let her grow a little more, get her ready for a spring and summer campaign," Kirby said.

Gaming expansion talk

Kirby, the head of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, also reported that the Illinois legislature might, by week's end, craft legislation that would expand gaming in the state. Illinois racetracks have been part of gaming expansion talks and could be awarded licenses to operate slot-machine parlors if the legislature decides to plug major budget gaps through gaming revenues.

Also under discussion this year have been plans that would funnel a percentage of revenue from the state's casinos to Illinois racetracks. Such legislation was passed last year, but was declared unconstitutional because it did not include all the state's casinos.

Hawthorne horses ship and win

Hawthorne-based horses have been having success in recent out-of-town stakes races.

Pretty Jenny was defeated in a statebred stakes race here earlier this month, but shipped to Kentucky and won the Dream Supreme Stakes last Friday at Churchill Downs for trainer Christine Janks.

Connections, trained by Hawthorne-based Mike Dini, won the Kennedy Road, a Grade 3 sprint stakes, on Nov. 18 at Woodbine.

* Tim Thornton has opened up slightly in a jockeys race that remains tight. Thanks to a productive Thanksgiving week, Thornton entered this week's action up five wins (52-47) on veteran Randy Meier. Chris Emigh was another seven wins back, at 40.

* The Wednesday feature is race 4, a second-level Illinois-bred sprint allowance that should have Southern Vision and Cure as the favorites.