04/28/2010 11:00PM

It's Catalano vs. Calabrese again at Arlington


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Another Arlington summer of Wayne Catalano and Frank Calabrese begins Friday, but for the second straight year, they will play for different teams. And for the second straight year, it's Calabrese and trainer Nick Canani who will be squaring off against Catalano on a regular basis.

Calabrese has either won or tied for the owner's title at Arlington every year since 2000, but last Arlington meet, Calabrese did so sans Catalano. The two parted company the previous winter at Gulfstream Park. Catalano at one point in January 2009 had no horses under his care but still cobbled together a stable and won his fifth consecutive Arlington training title last year.

Catalano's outfit should be larger and stronger for the 2010 meet, which begins Thursday, and he entered six horses on the first two programs of the season compared with only two for Calabrese. To start this summer, Calabrese's whole operation - except for a couple of horses for young trainer Ron Faucheaux - is in the hands of Canani, whom Calabrese hired last year. Trainer Danny Miller, who had a successful stint with Calabrese in 2009 and trained Calabrese's top 3-year-olds over the winter at Gulfstream, parted company with Calabrese earlier in the spring.

Peitz gets new beginning in Chicago

Trainer Steve Hobby has a significantly reduced presence this year at Arlington, and trainer Bret Calhoun will have no presence at all. The new arrival of note is Danny Peitz, who has taken 30 stalls on the Arlington backstretch for his first summer in Chicago.

Peitz, a native Arkansan, typically spends the summer in New York but said he considered relocating to Arlington in 2009 and decided to make the plunge this year.

"I'm ready for a change," Peitz said.

Peitz would have had about half the stall allotment if he had gone to New York this summer, and now he has more room for horses owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum's Shadwell Stable.

"They've been pretty excited about it," said Peitz, who also is backed by owners Robert and Lawana Low. "This allows them to splits things up, with the Polytrack at Arlington."

Peitz has never trained regularly over a synthetic track.

"It's all new," he said. "I don't know what to expect."

That may be the case, but Peitz isn't holding back. He entered four horses on Friday's 10-race card, all in maiden or allowance races - and all looking at least moderately live.

Polzin worked his way up

Chris Polzin's first racing secretary job was a long time coming. Polzin, 55, began working in the racing office at Sportsman's Park in 1981 or 1982 - he can't exactly recall, that being nearly 30 years ago - after stints collecting admissions at Arlington Park and work in the press box here.

It wasn't until 2005, when Polzin served as an assistant to Arlington director of racing Frank Gabriel, that he considered aiming for a top job in a racing office.

"The one season I was here with Frank, I learned so much," Polzin said. "He'd come in and explain everything. Most everything I'm going to do right now I learned from Frank."

Polzin got into racing through his father, Elmer Polzin, who started working for the Chicago American newspaper as a copy boy in 1944. Decades later, the elder Polzin made selections and wrote racing stories for the Chicago Tribune.

Polzin has deeper Illinois roots than departed racing secretary Kevin Greely, and will be working with a training colony with a distinctly Illinois feel in 2010. Several strictly Chicago outfits have more stall space than usual at Arlington, such as Joel Berndt (38 stalls), Roger Brueggemann (41), and Chris Dorris (34).

Alvarado healed up and ready to go

Junior Alvarado, the surprise leading rider at the 2009 meet, is back for another crack at Arlington, and though Alvarado has ridden just 75 races so far in 2010, he said last week at Keeneland that he actually feels better than he did during much of last year's Arlington season.

In December, Alvarado had surgery on an aching right shoulder. The procedure cost him about four months of mounts, and Alvarado got in only two weeks of riding at Tampa before seeing limited action at Keeneland, but Alvarado said that at least he now can ride pain-free.

"Last summer, it was bothering me," he said. "My shoulder popped out all the time."

* Arlington president Roy Arnold said the track will begin postrace super-testing on the winner of all races this season. The testing conforms to a model established by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

* Arlington purchased high-definition cameras during the off-season and will be broadcasting its races this year in HD, the fifth North American racetrack to make such a change.

* New to the Arlington wagering menu for 2010 is a pick five spanning races 3-7 on any program with at least nine races. The bet is offered at a $1 base, and 80 percent of the pool will carry over to the following race card if not hit.