08/30/2005 11:00PM

Catalano surging toward meet record

Benoit & Associates
Fort Prado, winning the June 25 Black Tie Affair, will make his next start in the Carey Memorial Handicap.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Wayne Catalano came in like a lion and is going out like - a lion.

Catalano got back together with his longtime owner Frank Calabrese, late this spring and the two started this meet on a huge roll. And after a brief midsummer cooling-off period, Catalano has caught fire again. As of mid-card Wednesday, Catalano had won with 12 out of his last 18 starters, an amazing 10 out of his last 12, and with One Other Than's victory in Wednesday's fifth race, 56 wins for the meet. Catalano is maintaining a 40-percent strike rate after almost 140 starters and is on pace to break the meet record for wins by a trainer, 64, which he set in 2002.

"I'm looking at a schedule here, and I'm estimating we have 35, 37, 38 to enter the rest of the meet," Catalano said. "If we keep winning like we've been winning, we'll set a new record."

Calabrese, who will easily win another owner's title, craves action, and Catalano has given him plenty of it this summer. While Catalano and Calabrese have won with several young horses in maiden races, the bulk of their business has been with claimers. With stable agent Steve Leving helping pick horses out, the outfit has won with 13 horses claimed at the meet, and, contrary to popular opinion, these horses weren't all dropping in class.

"None were on the drop," Catalano said. "All the same price or higher."

To run back at the claiming price for which it was taken, a horse has to sit out 30 days. That, Catalano points out, takes patience on the part of the owner, and getting the right horse. But to keep up the flow of action, claiming has been required, since other horsemen claimed 51 horses from Catalano during the Arlington meet.

"My outfit, my help, the way we do things, I'm proud of everybody," Catalano said.

Bridgmohan dominant

With 113 victories and a 39-win lead on his nearest pursuer, Shaun Bridgmohan has a lock on the riding title almost as tight as Catalano has on the training title.

Bridgmohan, like Catalano, has ridden a recent surge and has made inroads into local horsemen during his first season at Arlington.

"I came here not knowing that many people," Bridgmohan said.

He also came here not knowing Arlington, but has developed a knack for moving at right time and on the right part of the racetrack, which has been slow along the rail on occasion this meet. For that, a jockey needs the right horse, and Bridgmohan is quick to credit agent Dennis Cooper for finding them.

"Obviously, he's got me a lot of business," Bridgmohan said. "He's a very, very good agent."

Carey Memorial next for Fort Prado

Fort Prado came out of his fifth-place finish in the Play the King Handicap at Woodbine in good health and will make his next start in the Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne, trainer Chris Block said.

Ridden by Brice Blanc, Fort Prado was beaten about 2 1/2 lengths in the 13-horse Play the King, but never really had a chance to run. Racing from the back of the field, Fort Prado moved up around the turn, but was buried behind horses for most of the stretch run.

"Frustrating is what I'd call it," Block said. "To go up there and finish third by a length and just get outrun, that'd be preferable to me to leaving your race out on the track. I looked at the replay a couple times, and there was nothing Brice could've done different. There was no way to get through. Fortunately, he came out of it in good shape and did okay with the traveling."

Charley Tango earns start in Futurity

Charley Tango ran his way into the Arlington-Washington Futurity with an easy win in an entry-level allowance race Sunday, according to trainer Mike Stidham.

Bred and owned by Stonerside Stable, Charley Tango slipped through on the rail to score by 3 3/4 lengths as a heavy favorite and remain unbeaten after two starts. His seven-furlong time of 1:24.97 was somewhat slow, but Charley Tango raced on a sluggish rail and wasn't hard-ridden by jockey Jesse Campbell.