09/03/2007 11:00PM

Catalano may have another good one


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There may be some nice 2-year-old fillies showing up at Arlington Park on Saturday for the Arlington-Washington Lassie, but leading trainer Wayne Catalano likes the hand he's holding for the race.

Dreaming of Liz, who came alive with a blowout maiden win after a modest career debut, continues to train like a stakes horse, and for the second straight year, Catalano and owner-breeder Frank Calabrese might have a horse worthy of Breeders' Cup consideration into the fall.

Dreaming of Liz worked a bullet five furlongs in 59 seconds on Aug. 27, and Monday, she came back and did it again. This time, she was clocked in 58.60 seconds, the fastest of 29 works at the distance, and once again, Dreaming of Liz worked by herself and worked without any real encouragement, a good sign for a young horse stretching out beyond a sprint distance for the first time.

"Hell no, it wasn't too fast," Catalano said Tuesday morning. "Randy Meier is a professional jockey and he never moved a hair on her. She was all by herself and she went easy. That's how she's doing right now. I can't ask for one to do any better than mine is doing now."

Dreaming of Liz, the product of a mating between El Prado and Silver Maiden, a Grade 1-winning mare campaigned by Calabrese, was fourth behind graded-stakes-placed Passion in her debut, but won an Aug. 10 maiden race by seven lengths.

Dreaming of Anna, last year's 2-year-old champion, is no relation to Dreaming of Liz, and is a different kind of horse, Catalano said.

"Dreaming of Anna, she's not quite the size of this filly," he said. "This is a nice, big filly. But Dreaming of Anna already is proven. This one still has to do, but she's acting like one."

The Lassie, a Grade 3 at one mile on Polytrack, could attract a field of eight to 10 when the race is drawn Wednesday.

German import takes on Dreaming of Anna

Dreaming of Anna, as it happens, will make her own appearance on Saturday's card, which includes the Lassie, the Grade 3 Matron, and Anna's race, the Pucker Up. The Pucker Up, a Grade 3 at nine furlongs on turf, produced the winner of the 2006 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, Vacare.

The Pucker Up field still was in flux early this week, but one horse penciled in to face Dreaming of Anna is Touch My Soul, who arrived at Arlington from Germany on Monday. Touch My Soul was to clear quarantine Tuesday, and can train Wednesday, said Barry Irwin, head of the Team Valor syndicate which co-owns Touch My Soul.

Touch My Soul is trained by Peter Schiergen, who sent Soldier Hollow to a third-place finish in the 2006 Arlington Million. Irwin said he had seen Touch My Soul on a trip to Germany last year, and noted that she finished second to the highly regarded filly Shane in Germany's most important 2-year-old filly race of the season. Touch My Soul came up for sale after finishing third in her 2007 debut, Irwin said, because she had bled through both nostrils in the race. Germany has stringent breeding guidelines - a German sire cannot have raced with medication - and Touch My Soul's owner-breeder did not care to have a filly who had bled as a broodmare.

"She's not a classic bleeder in the true sense of it," Irwin said. "What had happened was there was a virus going through the yard, and we hoped that was what had caused it."

Touch My Soul won a German Group 3 in her first post-purchase start, and Irwin said Schiergen hoped to send her for the Beverly D.

"But I didn't want to run a 3-year-old filly against older horses, plus we had Irridescence for the race," Irwin said.

Instead, Touch My Soul wound up in the Prix de Psyche on July 31 at Deauville, where she finished an excusable eighth.

"She was too close to a hot pace, and when the real running started, she didn't go," Irwin said.

Touch My Soul would have started in the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont, which also is Saturday, if travel to New York had been easier. It wasn't, and Touch My Soul will land in the Pucker Up, with leading rider Rene Douglas taking the call.

West Coast Swing passes on Pucker Up

One filly who apparently will pass the Pucker Up is West Coast Swing, an extremely sharp 10 3/4-length winner of an Aug. 5 entry-level allowance race at seven furlongs on Polytrack. West Coast Swing, a 3-year-old Gone West filly bred and owned by WinStar Farms, had won her June 30 debut by two lengths.

West Coast Swing is bred for turf, and worked well on grass last weekend, according to trainer Shannon Ritter. But Ritter and Elliott Walden, a WinStar adviser, will take a different path, and Ritter said West Coast Swing was being pointed to the Sept. 15 Prairie Meadows Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race.

"We were thinking that maybe the [Pucker Up] would come up light, but looking at the past performances and stuff, I told Elliott I didn't want to put an inexperienced horse in against bears her first stakes race," Ritter said.