08/27/2002 11:00PM

Douglas takes over on Red Mimi


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Sometimes handicappers forget that trainers - even jockeys - read Daily Racing Form, too. How many times does a race that on paper is laden with speed play out as relatively paceless? And how many times does a "lone speed" horse suddenly find competition for the lead when a race actually unfolds?

Red Mimi was one of those supposed lone speeds when she raced here July 19. Coming out of an easy 4 1/2-length win on July 4, she figured to lope along by herself and have plenty left for her stretch run, even moving up one allowance class off her victory.

Didn't happen. The opposition could see that Red Mimi loose on the lead would turn into Red Mimi standing in the winner's circle. One rider bold enough not to concede the lead forced Red Mimi into quick splits, and a half-mile on turf in 47.91 seconds proved Red Mimi's undoing.

She ran well in defeat, though, holding on for second behind a filly who returned with a good second-place finish in a strong overnight stakes race during Arlington Million week.

Once again, Red Mimi tantalizes handicappers as the controlling speed in her third-level allowance, and this time trainer Wayne Catalano is leaving nothing to chance. Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese have replaced the talented but inexperienced jockey Elvis Trujillo with Rene Douglas, master of the Arlington turf. If someone wants to go with Red Mimi on Friday, Douglas is likely to take back and wait his turn.

And there is a bit of pace in this 1 1/16-mile race, primarily Cozy and Wolfnik, two horses going in different directions as summer wanes. Cozy seemed poised to win this condition early in the meet. She got a prep at Hawthorne in May and was a good second here June 12, but has shown subtle signs of decline in her three starts since, though she was third in her most recent race. Wolfnik, however, may be on the rise. A $40,000 to $50,000 claimer for much of this year, Wolfnik was claimed two starts ago and finished second Aug. 3 to the solid turf mare Bien Nicole in a Retama Park stakes race.

Like Cozy, Dear Lou Lou has hung around this third-level allowance condition longer than one would prefer to see, and she, too, has shown no solid signs of forward-moving form in her most recent starts. Like the rest of this field, Dear Lou Lou needs Red Mimi's superiority on paper to be foiled on the racetrack.