08/18/2004 11:00PM

Fly Away Angel a win-win deal


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - On any given day at any given racetrack, deals are being struck to move a horse from one owner to another by a process often cloaked in secrecy: the private purchase.

Private deals not only allow hundreds of bloodstock agents in North America to earn, or at least supplement, a livable wage, but they can also make life easier for owners and trainers by providing a mechanism through which buying and selling active racehorses is legitimized by market forces. In the months and years that follow a private sale, either the buyer or seller may feel that he or she got the best (or worst) part of the deal, but this is an aspect of almost any business transaction.

And in some happy instances, both buyer and seller feel they got a great deal. This subject arises in the wake of what has transpired in recent weeks with a filly named Fly Away Angel, who will go for her first graded stakes win Saturday in the Grade 3 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks.

"I'm happy, the former owner is happy, and I'm sure the new owner and trainer are happy," said Pat Byrne, who used to train Fly Away Angel for Charles LaLoggia - until the 3-year-old filly was sold in July. "I do like to sell horses, but you can't sell horses that fall apart because that would have a terrible effect on what you're trying to do with potential future sales. I'm really glad the filly is doing as well as she is."

In her two starts since Bernard Schaeffer bought her for an undisclosed price, Fly Away Angel won a July 10 entry-level allowance at Ellis Park, then won the Sweetest Chant Stakes here July 30. Off those wins for new trainer Bill Connelly, she enters the 1 1/8-mile Arlington Oaks as one of the logical favorites.

"The mile and an eighth ought to be in her favor," said Connelly, who is based at Turfway Park. "She won a maiden race at 1 1/4 miles, and she's a big, long-striding filly, so hopefully she'll like going farther."

Fly Away Angel, by Skip Away, was scheduled to van here Friday.

The Fly Away Angel transaction was handled by Kentucky bloodstock agent T.V. Kegel, who happened to buy Fly Away Angel privately as a yearling for another client.

"Timing means a lot in these deals," said Kegel. "The old owner needed to sell her when he did, and the new owner was looking for a nice horse. I've always liked this filly and thought it was a reasonable deal for everybody involved."

Cuccurullo might be back training

Pat Cuccurullo, the veteran trainer who was fired Aug. 1 by prominent Chicago owner Frank Calabrese, said Friday that he is hopeful of getting back into training soon.

"I've got something in the works but right now I can't comment on what it is," Cuccurullo said from his home in the southwest suburb of Lamont, Ill. "Hopefully I'll be back for Hawthorne," which starts Sept. 24.

Cuccurullo said he recently returned from a vacation with his family.

Calabrese, the printing tycoon, has been known for hiring and firing trainers in quick order. He enjoyed one of his lengthiest and most successful runs with trainer Wayne Catalano until the men parted ways in February, after which Cuccurullo became Calabrese's private trainer until he was let go in August.