09/14/2010 4:23PM

Major Gain may veer toward grass

Four-Footed Fotos
Major Gain, with Junior Alvarado up, wins the Arlington-Washington Futurity.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Trainer Wayne Catalano is thinking Keeneland-Breeders’ Cup for Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Major Gain, but maybe not in the way that others are thinking.

Rather than aim Major Gain for the Breeders’ Futurity on Polytrack and then the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt, Catalano and Major Gain’s owners, Gary and Mary West, are considering the colt for the $100,000 Bourbon Stakes, a turf race Oct. 10 at Keeneland. That could lead to a start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, if Major Gain takes to the track.

“I think we’ll run him back in a grass race,” Catalano said Tuesday, adding that Major Gain had exited the Arlington-Washington Futurity in good physical condition.

Twice-started Major Gain, who won his maiden in Saturday’s Grade 3 Polytrack stakes on the Polytrack, is by More than Ready, whose offspring often take to grass, and his dam, Dream Lady, was a stakes winner on turf. The Wests campaigned Dream Lady and bred Major Gain.

Major Gain raced somewhat greenly finishing second in his career debut, and even in the Futurity he failed to change leads during the stretch run.

“He’s waiting to get on the grass to do that,” Catalano said. “Right now, he’s just fooling around.”

Catalano said Arlington-Washington Lassie runner-up Jordy Y could run back in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, and Catalano figures to have his fingerprints all over that meet this fall. He has 32 stalls in a public barn there, and 20 more in one of Keeneland’s private barns across a road from the main property.

Hawthorne stop for Lassie winner

The Alcibiades also is a likely destination for Wonderlandbynight, who won the Arlington-Washington Lassie on Saturday for Mike Reavis, Reavis’s second win in a graded stakes during a long training career.

Reavis said Wonderlandbynight had come out of the Lassie in good shape, and that she and the rest of his stable would be shipped across Chicagoland to Hawthorne Race Course this week. Reavis said if Hawthorne management permitted him, he would work Wonderlandbynight over the turf there to see how the filly went over grass. All Wonderlandbynight’s starts, including stakes scores in her last two outs, have come on Polytrack.

Wonderlandbynight wasn’t made eligible to the Breeders’ Cup as a foal, and now it would cost $180,000 to supplement her to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but Reavis said the supplementary payment was “not an issue” with Wonderlandbynight’s owners if the filly proves worthy of a Breeders’ Cup start. Reavis bred Wonderlandbynight himself and owned her earlier in the summer, but sold her to Mark Dedomonico, a former heart surgeon and medical entrepreneur based in Washington.

Reavis owns Wonderlandbynight’s dam, Onemiracleatatime, and said he plans to sell her in foal at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale this November.

Dade Babe looking fine

Also Keeneland-bound is Dade Babe, the front-end winner of the Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington on Aug. 6. Trainer Danny Miller and owner Lawrence Peifer are hoping to be invited to start in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (the Pucker Up winner nearly always receives an invitation), but will try the Valley View, another Keeneland grass stakes for 3-year-old fillies, if an invitation is not extended.

Dade Babe came to Chicago from Florida earlier this summer without anything like a stakes agenda. Claimed by her current owner for $25,000, she made her first Arlington start in a $17,500 Polytrack claimer, which she won by more than eight lengths. Dade Babe improved rapidly and markedly the last couple months, and now has turned in two straight peak performances, but Miller said he has not seen overt signs of regression from the filly.

“She came out of the race really good,” said Miller. “She’s doing really well.”

◗ Thursday’s nominal feature is race 7, an inscrutable entry-level, turf-sprint allowance for fillies and mares. Long-layoff comebacker True Brew ran well enough over the winter at Fair Ground to play a major role, while Connie Mac, a front-running second-place finisher Aug. 18 in a Saratoga turf-sprint at the same class level, figures to be favored.