05/15/2006 11:00PM

Catalano saddles four before turning his focus on Peter Pan try


CHICAGO - The Wayne Catalano stable has four horses entered on Thursday's nine-race Arlington card, and it could be one of those Catalano days at Arlington, when winners rain down one upon another. Even so, the attention of Catalano and his main owner, Frank Calabrese, will shift East as this week progresses.

Lewis Michael, Calabrese's homebred 3-year-old, arrived at Belmont Park late Monday night after traveling by van from Arlington. He ate breakfast and rested Tuesday morning, but will visit the Belmont track for a jog on Wednesday, then gallop into Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes.

"We put him on a truck, in a box stall yesterday morning at 9," Catalano said Tuesday. "Nice cool weather all the way, he got there at 1 in the morning, everything was beautiful. He shipped very well."

Catalano briefly toyed last week with the idea of trying the Preakness rather than the Peter Pan, but the race at Belmont should be challenging enough. Lewis Michael has never even won a dirt race, and though he did have a troubled trip when he finished fourth in the Illinois Derby, in his most recent race, Lewis Michael was nowhere near the winner, the Preakness-bound Sweetnorthernsaint. Still, Lewis Michael has been working with aplomb, and he did so again Sunday, breezing five furlongs in company in a bullet 59.80 seconds.

"He worked extremely good," Catalano said. "He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12."

However good Lewis Michael might be - and as Catalano says, "the jury's still out" - there is nothing from the Catalano stable in his class on Thursday's Arlington card. Just horses for races 3, 6, 7, and 9 that seem to have landed in ideal spots. The seventh, where Catalano sends out likely favorite , is for 3-year-old entry-level allowance horses or $50,000 claimers, but race 8, a high-end seven-furlong allowance with an $80,000 claiming option, is the Thursday feature. This race drew only six entrants, but finding the winner doesn't look easy.

both come off third-level allowance wins at Hawthorne, and though Alabama Clay looked sharper, it's Bye Bye Crafty who might be better suited to Thursday's race. Bye Bye Crafty likes Arlington, and though winless in two seven-furlong races, he has run well at 6 1/2 furlongs and seems more like a seven-furlong horse than a pure sprinter. Alabama Clay and Bye Bye Crafty both have some early speed, as does Iron Rogue, and a fast early pace could set up one of the closers. But Johnathan never has done especially well at Arlington, while Rogue Scholar and another off-the-pace horse, Stormy Business, are unknown commodities on this circuit.