09/03/2013 3:15PM

Louisiana Downs: Catalano back in familiar territory

Shigeki Kikkawa
Treasury Bill, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, was the runner-up in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita in February.

Treasury Bill and Cameo Appearance will be trainer Wayne Catalano’s first Super Derby starters when they run Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 race, but the former jockey is more than familiar with Louisiana Downs.

Catalano, a native of New Orleans, currently has divisions of his stable at Churchill Downs and Arlington Park. But earlier in his career, he spent some time competing at Louisiana Downs, which opened in 1974.

“I rode there,” Catalano said. “I was the second-leading rider to Tom Greer in 1975. It was the second meet. I remember I didn’t make the first meet.”

Catalano turned to training after retiring from the saddle, and more than 20 years ago had a stable of horses at Louisiana Downs. His clients included John Franks, the late Eclipse Award-winning owner who lived in Shreveport, La.

Catalano said he has been back with just a few shippers over the past few decades.

Treasury Bill and Cameo Appearance both race for Gary and Mary West. Treasury Bill, a son of Lemon Drop Kid, was the runner-up in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita in February. In his most recent start, he added blinkers and was third in a first-level allowance at Indiana Downs on Aug. 13.

“He’s coming off a nice race,” Catalano said. “He’s worked very well. He’s a pretty good horse.”

Cameo Appearance, a son of Majestic Warrior, was third in the $66,000 Straight Line at Arlington on Aug. 17.

Second honeymoon for Peitzes

Trainer Dan Peitz also will be represented by his first Super Derby starter on Saturday in Bashaar. But it’s not his first Super Derby. Peitz in 1982 was working as an assistant to trainer Joe Cantey, and he came to town to saddle Dew Line in the race won that year by Reinvested. While in Bossier City, Peitz made an important reconnection with the woman he would eventually marry, Sandy.

“She was working for Terry Dunlavy,” recalled Peitz, 56. “I had met her at Oaklawn. She had gone to Louisiana Downs, and we were in the stakes barn next to Terry Dunlavy. She had a boyfriend at the time and wouldn’t go out with me, but that didn’t keep me from trying.

“The next year we started going out, and I took a week’s vacation, to Louisiana Downs, to spend time with her.

“Louisiana Downs has got some good memories for us.”

Peitz also noted that it was at the track in January 2006 that Steppenwolfer won a first-level allowance. He said it was the year the Fair Grounds meet was held at Louisiana Downs because of Hurricane Katrina. Later the same year, Steppenwolfer ran third in the Kentucky Derby.

Peitz said Sandy would accompany him to Louisiana Downs this weekend for the Super Derby.

First horse a Super Derby starter

Runaway Stephen is headed to the Super Derby for the partnership of William K. Harris and Donald W. Guinn after running third in the local prep, the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 3.

“This is their first horse,” trainer Joey Foster said. “They claimed him for $20,000, and he’s running in the Super Derby. You don’t do that often . . . and this is their first horse.”

Foster said Harris and Guinn are successful businessmen based in northern Arkansas. He said he was recommended to them by friend and retired trainer Tommy Harris, the grandfather of William Harris.

“They’ve been exposed to the racing world, they just never owned a horse,” Foster said of the partners.

Runaway Stephen has won 2 of 5 starts, including his debut in a one-mile race at Delta Downs from which he was claimed Feb. 9. His other win came in one-mile turf allowance at Louisiana Downs. In the Prelude, Runaway Stephen closed from last for third after stumbling at the start of the race. He is a son of Stephen Got Even and the Runaway Groom mare Runaway Grey.

Foster is the current leading trainer at Louisiana Downs.

Departing’s local family ties

Departing is the third foal to race from his dam, Leave, and when he runs in the Super Derby on Saturday he will be her third starter at Louisiana Downs. Left was fourth in a conditioned claiming race at Louisiana Downs last June. The same month, Exit won a maiden special weight in Bossier City.

“Left didn’t work out, but we always liked the way he trained and his attitude,” said Al Stall Jr., who trained both Left and Exit and now has Departing.

Left and Exit are by Super Derby winner Arch, while Departing is by the Danzig stallion War Front.

“We have a 3-year-old that’s developing by arguably one of the best sires in the world in War Front,” Stall said of Departing.

Stall noted War Front’s recent group and/or graded stakes winners include Declaration of War, winner of the Juddmonte International at York; War Command, who won the Coventry at Royal Ascot and Futurity at The Curragh; Bashart, winner of the With Anticipation at Saratoga; and Summer Front, who won the Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park.