09/18/2002 11:00PM

If declared fit, Macho Uno will run


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - After arriving from Woodbine by van late Wednesday afternoon, Macho Uno spent Thursday morning getting acquainted with his temporary lodgings on Arlington Park's backstretch. Macho Uno, who breezed Monday at Woodbine, was scheduled to get his first feel for the Arlington racing surface Friday, but his status for the Sept. 29 Washington Park Handicap will not be determined until after he breezes early next week.

"He'll breeze Monday, and hopefully we can make the race on the 29th," trainer Joe Orseno said Thursday from New York. "I want to make sure he didn't lose too much fitness."

Macho Uno hasn't started since he finished fourth in the Aug. 3 Whitney Handicap, and shortly after the race he was shipped to owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Canada. Early this summer, Macho Uno turned in with one of the best performances of the year when he won the Massachusetts Handicap, but he has lost twice since, finishing third in the Suburban before the Whitney. A slow pace compromised Macho Uno in the Suburban, and Orseno said Macho Uno had a negative reaction to a Lasix shot given before the Whitney.

"I feel like he could've won both races," Orseno said.

Orseno chose the Chicago route for Macho Uno's Breeders' Cup preparation over a start in the Meadowlands Cup or the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont.

"I don't see the benefit of racing in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, especially around one turn," said Orseno. "Two turns is more his game, and it sure wouldn't hurt to get a race in over the track."

Macho Uno was one of 20 horses nominated to the $400,000 Washington Park, though the field remains very much in flux. As of this week, Bonus Pack, Generous Rosi, Pleasantly Perfect, and Tenpins also were considered likely starters in the race. Possible runners include Harlan's Holiday, Momentum, Rock Slide, and the locally based Saquache, who worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 Thursday.

Hollendorfer waves white flag

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has shipped about 20 of his Arlington horses back to his base at Bay Meadows, essentially conceding the training title to Wayne Catalano, who held a 10-win lead partway through Thursday's program.

Hollendorfer, who raced at Arlington for the first time last season and won the training title, had one of the largest strings on the grounds before breaking up his local stable. A win Wednesday gave Hollendorfer 34 wins this meet.

One of his horses who remains on the grounds is Lost at Sea, who still is being considered for the Indiana Oaks at Hoosier Park. "If she's not 110 percent, then I don't want to run her," Hollendorfer said.

Meadowminer a mud lover

If, as forecast, the rain that moved into the Chicago area Thursday sticks around through the weekend, Saturday's featured eighth race here probably will be moved from turf to dirt. And that would mean they probably won't see much but the back end of Meadowminer.

The open allowance race carded at five furlongs on turf serves as the headliner on a stakes-less weekend. Eight were entered, and if the race stays on grass, turf-sprint specialists Distinctive Mr. B and Nice N' Salty might be the horses to beat. On turf, Meadowminer is an unknown. On a sloppy main track, he has been untouchable, winning both of his starts, the last an 8 1/2-length romp here Aug. 23.

Owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano had gotten away with running Meadowminer - a multiple stakes winner at age 2 and 3 - for as low as a $25,000 claiming tag early in June. But they were called the last time. Trainer Roy Houghton stepped in and placed a $50,000 claim on Meadowminer for owner Kimberlie Molinaro, and now the new connections of the 4-year-old Meadowminer can see what they have.

They already know he will try. Meadowminer has won 9 of 14 races, many of them by less than a length, and even on turf Meadowminer may have to be reckoned with Saturday.

Wiggins changes hands

The Illinois-bred colt Wiggins, a game second to Sharp Impact in the Sept. 7 Spectacular Bid Stakes here, has been sold and turned over to trainer Tony Granitz. Bred by trainer Ken Spraggins, who owned the colt in partnership with Edward Wiggins, Wiggins was sold for $150,000, according to Spraggins. His new owners are William Pacella, Ron Schwed and Joe Rizza.

"I tried to buy him before he even ran, but couldn't get the deal worked out," Granitz said.

"It was a very, very hard decision to sell," said Spraggins. "But you have to treat it like a business. Anything can happen on the racetrack, and then you're out."

Spraggins had been pointing Wiggins to the Arlington-Washington Futurity, but Granitz is not committed to that race. "We'll nominate to the Futurity, but it's up in the air about where we'll go with him," Granitz said.

Wiggins has only sprinted and does not have a router's pedigree, but Granitz said the colt "acts like he can go on a little farther."

* Beginning this week, only Breeders' Cup horses are allowed to work on the turf here.

* Hawthorne Race Course will open its backstretch on Sept. 30.