09/16/2008 12:00AM

Mustfuhr strong on turf, Poly


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Turf racing seemed like a 99-1 shot last weekend, when epic rains pounded the Chicago area. Flooding was widespread, and even Arlington's infield lagoon spilled way over its banks. But cool, sunny weather this week gives Arlington a chance to get back on grass during the last four days of its 2008 racing season - not that it really matters to Mustfuhr.

Claimed for $30,000 in March at Gulfstream Park by owner Frank Calabrese, Mustfuhr has racked up three wins during the Arlington summer. The first two came on Polytrack, but more recently Mustfuhr impressively won an entry-level grass allowance race, and whether the featured ninth race here Thursday stays on grass or is moved onto the main track, Mustfuhr should be tough.

Mustfuhr was one of nine horses entered in the main body of a second-level allowance race carded for about 1 1/16 miles on grass. Rags and Alabama Gold were entered main-track-only.

The race appears to have multiple logical contenders, and Arlington of late has not produced the most obvious results. Denim, for instance, also enters Thursday's ninth after an entry-level turf allowance win, but he was 45-1 in his Sept. 1 victory.

Snapphok actually won last out at this second-level allowance condition, but because his Illinois-bred victories don't count against him, he can run right back at the same class. But Snapphok's recent win came at nine furlongs, and he's probably better at that trip than the shorter one he tries Thursday.

Radius finished less than two lengths behind Snapphok last out, and the Bill Mott-trained colt has the look of a horse approaching a peak race. Greycliff Exchange finished third behind Snapphok, and Warn exits a 1 1/4-length entry-level allowance win at Saratoga.

But it may be simpler than all that. Wayne Catalano is running away with the training title once again at Arlington, and when Catalano gets bullish on a horse, the way he seems to have done with Mustfuhr, it pays to follow along. Since his last win on Aug. 3, Mustfuhr has worked three times, drilling a bullet half-mile on each occasion.

"Yeah, that's what he does, that's him," Catalano said. "That's as slow as we can take him. When I claimed this horse, I was surprised to see he ran off first time, since he had come from behind before. He just started showing speed, he just got better each time. He's an improving horse."