12/29/2005 12:00AM

Injustice launches Catalano's invasion

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MIAMI - Wayne Catalano must feel something like the Dutch boy trying to keep the dike plugged. Last week, he shipped most of a 25-horse contingent from Chicago to the Palm Meadows training center, but he also is trying to hang on to win yet another training title back home at Hawthorne.

"I left a few back in Chicago, just to be safe," said Catalano, who took a relatively comfortable 34-27 lead over Tom Tomillo into the final five-day stretch of the Hawthorne meet. "I will have all 25 down here before long."

In the meantime, Catalano will try to get a running start on his winter campaign in south Florida when he sends out Injustice as a prime contender Saturday in the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs Handicap at Calder Race Course. Injustice, one of a trio of 119-pound highweights in the $100,000 Chaposa Springs, enters with the top last-race Beyer Speed Figure of 102 and will have John Velazquez in the saddle.

earned her 102 with a sharp victory in a tough overnight handicap on closing day of the Churchill Downs fall meet. A gray 4-year-old by Lit de Justice, Injustice defeated several stakes winners in that 6 1/2-furlong race, including Reunited, who was an odds-on favorite that day.

Since then, Injustice trained great at Hawthorne before arriving Wednesday at Palm Meadows, said Catalano. "We're looking forward to a big effort from her," he said.

At seven furlongs, the Chaposa Springs "should be her cup of tea," added Catalano. "This might be the perfect distance."

In all, nine fillies and mares entered the Chaposa Springs, which is named for a standout racemare trained by Marty Wolfson in the mid-1990's. Carded as the 10th of 12 races, it is part of the all-stakes pick four on the Grand Slam III program.

Wolfson brings forth a pair of contenders in the Live Oak Plantation entry of Menifeeque and Kuanyan, both of whom have captured lesser races over the local course in recent weeks. Menifeeque won the restricted Mia's Hope on Nov. 25. Kuanyan led all the way to win the Marina de Chavon on Dec. 4.

Sweet Lips tops Stage Door Betty cast

The final race of the all-stakes pick four - and on the Saturday card, for that matter - is another $100,000 race that drew nine fillies and mares, the Stage Door Betty, which also has a trio of 119-pound highweights.

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who won the Stage Door Betty last year with favored Personal Legend, could have the favorite again in Sweet Lips. But because she has not raced in more than nine months, Sweet Lips got a break in the weights and will carry 114 pounds, five fewer than Potra Clasica, Pitanga, and Palaestra.

If she returns to the form she showed last winter, Sweet Lips should prove very tough to beat in the 1 1/16-mile Stage Door Betty. At one point, she won five of six starts, capped by a last-to-first victory in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 29. After that, she finished second in the Grade 2 La Canada, then was sent to the sidelines following a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita.

If Sweet Lips does not come back full force, then any of the topweights look capable of winning. For a longer price, the local stalwart American Miss would do well to revert to one of her top Calder tries, having already won three minor stakes here this year.

* By getting nine entries in both the Chaposa Springs and Stage Door Betty, Caldergot nearly full participation from its nominations lists. The Chaposa Springs had just 10 nominated, and the Stage Door Betty had 12.