02/13/2012 2:00PM

Gulfstream: Cumulonimble seeks second straight in turf feature

Adam Coglianese
Multiple stakes winner Trip for A.J. (above) and Cumulonimble both scratched out of last Saturday's Suwannee River in favor of Wednesday's high-priced optional claiming turf feature at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Wayne Catalano pulled off one of the better feats of his outstanding training career when he brought Cumulonimble back from a 19-month layoff to win a high-level optional claiming race earlier this winter. He will try to make it two in a row with Cumulonimble when he moves her up another level for Wednesday’s $64,000 feature at Gulfstream Park.

Cumulonimble went to the sidelines after winning a restricted Illinois-bred stakes at Arlington Park on June 19, 2010. A 6-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic, Cumulonimble would not return until Jan. 13, when she overcame a little traffic on the second turn before finishing full of run along the rail to post a three-quarter length decision over Kiss the Stars.

“She hurt herself, had a little setback after she won that race in Chicago nearly two years ago,” said Catalano, who trains Cumulonimble for Two Bucks To Show LLC. “She trained steadily for her return and I thought I had her ready to go the first time back, even after 19 months. And now she’s had enough time in between so that race should help not hurt her when she comes back on Wednesday.”

Catalano actually had Cumulonimble, who has been beaten just once in six lifetime starts on grass, entered in last Saturday’s Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes but opted to scratch in lieu of Wednesday’s seemingly softer spot, a fourth-level optional $100,000 claimer for fillies and mares going one mile on turf.

“The wet track was an issue on Saturday but she also had a little mucus last week, about five days before the race, which we treated, and by coming out of the stakes and waiting for this allowance it gives her a little more time to get over it,” said Catalano.

Cumulonimble will likely have to move forward off her last to win again. Her competition on Wednesday includes a pair of European invaders, Future Generation and Sure Route, along with the multiple stakes winner Trip for A.J., who also scratched out of the Suwannee River, and All Due Respect.

Future Generation, a Group 3 winner last summer in Ireland, was transferred to trainer Christophe Clement’s barn and will race on Lasix for the first time in her U.S. bow.

Sure Route won a handicap at Epsom in her 3-year-old finale and like Future Generation will also be on Lasix for the first time Wednesday. She is now under the tutelage of Robert Ribaudo.

Trip for A.J. dropped farther off the early pace than usual en route to a sixth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf. She closed out her 2011 season finishing third here in the South Beach Stakes and second, beaten a neck, in Calder’s Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap. She has not won since capturing an overnight stakes over Calder’s main track nearly seven months ago.

All Due Respect, Grade 1-placed at 3, tries turf for just the second time in her career. Her first experience on the grass was a good one, resulting in a second-place finish against Grade 3 opposition at Del Mar in October 2010.