09/09/2010 4:23PM

Catalano has two shots to extend recent dominance of Arlington-Washington Lassie


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Wayne Catalano has trained the winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie two of the last three years, with She Be Wild going on to a 2-year-old filly championship in 2009. And with the uncoupled entry of Jordy Y and Honey Chile set to go in Saturday’s edition of the race, the Catalano barn has a strong chance to win it again.

Jordy Y and Honey Chile were among 13 horses entered in the Lassie, one of two Grade 3, $100,000, one-turn-mile Polytrack races for 2-year-olds at Arlington on Saturday. The Lassie goes as race 8, the Futurity as race 6.

Jordy Y was among the first set of 2-year-olds to race here this summer, winning her maiden in front-running fashion July 5. Running back in an entry-level allowance race Aug. 1, Jordy Y, a daughter of Congrats owned by Darrell and Evelyn Yates, stalked the leader from third and finished nicely to win going away over 5 1/2 furlongs. In Catalano’s mind, racing experience and demonstrated closing ability might give Jordy Y an edge Saturday over Honey Chile, who won her career debut on Aug. 19 by more than three lengths.

“The way she’s built and training, and [the fact] she’s had a couple races makes it look like she’ll get the mile,” Catalano said of Jordy Y. “The other filly, she’s speedy and got some talent, but it’s a pretty tough race going a mile with only the one start. Honey Chile, she’s got nice natural speed, but how far can she carry it?”

The primary threat to the Catalano pair looks like Wonderlandbynight, who won an Illinois-bred maiden race here in June before beating four foes in the $153,000 Ontario Debutante on Aug. 14 at Woodbine.

Trainer Jim DiVito entered three fillies in the Lassie – Tellme All Aboutit, One Star, and Third Chance. Third Chance was a sharp debut winner, but only beat Illinois-breds, while Tellme All About it was a front-running sprint winner over open company in her debut. Thrice-started One Star might have the best chance among the trio of moving forward at the one-mile distance.

Donnie Von Hemel’s pair of entrants includes Miss Inclined, whose one-mile turf maiden win Aug. 26 marks the only route victory among any of the Lassie entrants.

Caleb’s Posse stretches out

Don Von Hemel decided not to the standout colt Sherriff Cogburn in the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity, which leaves his son, Donnie, with the potential race favorite. Caleb’s Posse finished a distant second to Sherriff Cogburn in his career debut, and came back to win a maiden race here by almost three lengths on Aug. 14, a performance as good as any of the other seven entered in the Futurity have posted.

“We wanted to give him a chance here,” said Von Hemel, who trains Caleb’s Posse for owner-breeder Don McNeill. “He’s improving, and to me, we need to find out if he can go this far.”

Caleb’s Posse has raced only as far as 5 1/2 furlongs. His sire, Posse, is known for passing on speed more than stamina, and neither Caleb’s Posse’s dam nor grand-dam raced beyond six furlongs.

But Caleb’s Posse needs neither star-level talent nor deep-seated stamina to contend in a modest edition of the Futurity, a race in which three of the entrants are maidens. Among the winless is Major Gain, who was second to Caleb’s Posse in his lone start, but who has more of a route-oriented pedigree than his rival. Major Gain, a Gary and Mary West homebred, is out of the mare Dream Lady, a successful two-turn runner.

“He sure does look like he’ll run longer,” said trainer Wayne Catalano, who also entered Illinois-bred maiden winner Ghetto Cat.

Major Gain ran somewhat greenly when he finished second to Caleb’s Posse last month. Since then, he has turned in a half-mile work in a near-bullet 47 seconds, and a six-furlong gate drill Sept. 5 timed in 1:12.60.

“He works faster than they run the races,” Catalano said.

Rough Sailing overcame trouble and showed good stretch acceleration winning his career debut in a two-turn turf race, and he can contend Saturday if he transfers that form to Polytrack.