03/06/2008 12:00AM

Hot barn sends I'vegottabeme


OLDSMAR Fla. - If one of your handicapping approaches is to follow trainers having a hot meeting, then look no further than Mike Catalano Jr.'s entrant, I'vegottabeme, in Saturday's $65,000 Budweiser Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Catalano has been sizzling this meeting, with 8 wins from 22 starts for a dazzling 36 percent winning average. I'vegottabeme comes into Saturday's 1 1/16-mile race off a second to the king of local sprinters, Lookinforthesecret, in the seven-furlong Super Stakes. Catalano said he thinks I'vegottabeme will like the added distance.

"He's got the running style that fits a middle-distance runner, and while he was on the lead two races back on the turf, I would expect he'll be sitting just off the pace Saturday," Catalano said. "He's a tough horse to train. You have to take it step by step with him, but he's come back since the Super and worked a strong five furlongs and a good six furlongs, so he's fit."

I'vegottabeme came down from Delaware and rallied late to take a main-track sprint against optional claiming company, then moved to the turf for the first time. He showed his versatility by leading from start to finish in that mile race for a game nose victory.

Brought back in the Super, he rallied from off the pace to take the place spot and was gaining some ground on Lookinforthesecret late. The seven-furlong Super was run in a solid time of 1:23.18.

Tammi Piermarini will handle I'vegottabeme at 118 pounds.

Wayzata Bay won two stakes last season, capturing the Prairie Meadows Handicap and coming back in his next start to take the Minneapolis Stakes at Canterbury. In his only local outing, Wayzata Bay finished a nonthreatening third in an overnight handicap.

Tytus, from the barn of leading trainer Jamie Ness, will be shooting for his fourth win in a row while trying stakes company for the first time. There is little doubt he will be looking for the lead under Daniel Centeno, but Riversrunrylee, who set a track record for a mile and 40 yards winning his last in front-running fashion, may have something to say about that.