08/18/2008 12:00AM

Lewis Michael sharp for Del Mar trip


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Tuning up for a trip to California, Arlington-based Lewis Michael turned in his second straight bullet breeze, zipping five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Monday morning, the fastest of 40 works at the distance.

"He started out the first quarter in 24 and went the last quarter in 23," said trainer Wayne Catalano. "He's awesome right now."

Lewis Michael went unraced between a poor performance in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last fall and a useful fourth-place finish in the Sea O'Erin here July 26. That mile race was on turf, and Lewis Michael is returning to a synthetic racing surface - which he probably prefers - in the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar on Sunday.

"He's ready," Catalano said Monday. "He gets on a plane to go out there tomorrow morning."

Catalano said that Rene Douglas, who rode Lewis Michael last out, will travel to Del Mar for the O'Brien. Lewis Michael shipped to California last fall and finished fourth in the Goodwood BC. His connections hope for a return trip to the Breeders' Cup this fall.

Saturday at Arlington, Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese found themselves a candidate for next month's Arlington-Washington Futurity, with a colt named Casey's On Call. Making his career debut, Casey's On Call beat a well-meant Ronny Werner-trained first-timer named Pray for Action by a neck, and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80 for his five furlongs in 58.37. Catalano - looking ahead to the one-mile Futurity - had Casey's On Call gallop out another furlong in just over 12 seconds under jockey E.T. Baird, who has been riding almost all the Calabrese horses here lately.

Catalano won Saturday's first three races, and scored with seven of 12 starters here last week, giving him a mind-blowing 50 wins from just 112 runners this Arlington meet. Chris Block - who sent out impressive grass winners Giant Oak and Lakeaway on Sunday's card - is second in the trainer standings with 27 victories.

Mr. Nightlinger coming for Sprint

One timed workout is all Mr. Nightlinger needs for Saturday's $200,000 Arlington Sprint Handicap, trainer Bret Calhoun believes, and Mr. Nightlinger will ship back to Arlington from his base at Churchill Downs on Friday to try and win the Arlington Sprint the next afternoon.

Mr. Nightlinger is 4 for 4 in turf sprints, and has quickly turned into a dominant force in a division that - for the first time - has a Breeders' Cup race waiting at the end of the year. The BC Turf Sprint has been the goal for Mr. Nightlinger since he switched to turf and cruised to a sharp win in the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland this spring, and Calhoun has tried to keep the horse fairly fresh through the summer by staying in the Midwest. Mr. Nightlinger made three starts in Kentucky from April to June, and will take his second van ride from Churchill to Arlington after shipping here to win the $54,000 Taylor's Special by more than three lengths on July 26.

Mr. Nightliner worked a half-mile around the dogs in 51.20 seconds last Thursday at Churchill, a drill that will be his only breeze between starts.

"He's had a bunch of fast races," said Calhoun. "He's ready."

The Arlington Sprint - moved from the main track to turf this year - will be drawn on Wednesday.

Weekend winners cause a stir

A couple of horses turned some heads here this weekend. Never Lie, a 2-year-old second-timer who had not shown much sprinting on Polytrack in his career debut, won a two-turn turf allowance race by five lengths for owner-trainer Rusty Arnold here Saturday. And on Sunday, Wildeydsouthernboy, an Illinois-bred trained by Hugh Robertson, ran his career record to 3 for 3 with a game second-level allowance win going six furlongs on Polytrack.