06/06/2001 11:00PM

Langston ready to reward Calabrese's investment


STICKNEY, Ill. - With seven Illinois-breds and a handful of other overmatched horses pitted against him, Langston can post his first victory for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano on Saturday at Hawthorne.

Langston stands tall in Saturday's 11th race, the final event on the penultimate program here before Hawthorne's six-week spring meet concludes Sunday. Saturday's program includes a simulcast of the Belmont stakes, which is carded here as race 9. As with the first two Triple Crown races, local horseplayers can shop for odds, betting into the Belmont simulcast pool or into Hawthorne's own pool.

Betting against Langston will require particularly powerful insight into this one-mile turf race, which is for third-level allowance horses or $32,000 claimers. Langston came back from a long layoff and ran a strong race here May 5 in the Overage Stakes, finishing second to the good turf horse Galic Boy, who may have had the better trip. Speed-figure enthusiasts cannot help but stumble onto Langston's Overage Beyer - 96, a number that lays over Saturday's competition.

Langston looked the part of a good race horse on May 5. His coat gleamed, his muscles rippled, and Langston rated kindly for his rider before running willingly in the stretch. It was the kind of performance that makes one look forward to a horse's next start.

Calabrese and Catalano have been waiting a long time for Langston to pay dividends. Calabrese claimed Langston for $80,000 Aug. 18 at Del Mar, when the Pine Bluff colt finished eighth. The Calabrese crew uses speed figures to evaluate possible purchases, and in a series of West Coast turf starts Langston had shown the right kind of numbers.

It took nine months for Langston to re-launch his career, but now that he has returned he could go on to have a useful summer at Arlington.

Langston won't sneak up on anyone and his price will put off value-oriented players. Exacta tinkerers may want to consider Big Scoop, who faced better horses in his last race and should have his late run flattered by a solid pace.

* In Saturday's 10th race, a starter handicap at nine furlongs on turf, Gingerboy, who reeled off seven straight wins last spring and summer in Chicago, will try for his first win of the year. Gingerboy made his seasonal debut here May 19, finishing eighth in a starter allowance race.

* Apprentice rider Zoe Cadman retained her lead in the jockey standings here with a three-win day Wednesday.