10/25/2004 11:00PM

Renewed pairing sends five on card

Benoit & Associates
Carlos Marquez Jr. celebrates his victory with Culinary in the Arlington-Washington Lassie. Their next stop is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

CHICAGO - The owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano joined hands again earlier this month, reviving a relationship that flamed out last winter. Catalano has spent the last few weeks shuffling pieces, getting to know the horses and figuring out where they belong.

Asked Tuesday how things had progressed, Catalano said, "We'll know after Thursday."

Yes, Thursday at Hawthorne presents a kind of coming-out party for the new Catalano-Calabrese union. They have five horses entered on a nine-race card, including Calabrese's best runner, the 3-year-old filly Liz on Polk Street, who goes in the featured fourth. The race is for second-level allowance sprinters, and Liz on Polk Street sticks out like a sore thumb in the six-horse field.

Catalano, ever confident, suggested three Thursday wins were within reach.

"I guess we could win all five," he said. "That's how we enter, putting them in spots where they can win."

It worked perfectly with Liz on Polk Street, a daughter of A.P. Indy and Calabrese's Grade 1 winner Silver Maiden. Liz on Polk Street began her career with promise last fall at Hawthorne, easily winning her career debut on Nov. 1, but she hurt herself soon after and didn't race again until July. She made one start during the final days of the Pat Cuccurullo era, then ran three times for the now-departed trainer Jodie Sinclair.

The name in the trainer line is secondary: Liz on Polk Street is a runner.

She cruised to an entry-level allowance win at Arlington in her second start this season, then finished second to a high-caliber filly named Gilded Gold in a second-level allowance. Team Calabrese sent her to the Grade 3 Safely Kept on Oct. 2 at Pimlico, where Liz on Polk Street finished a close fourth in a fast race.

"She was hung out to dry the whole way," Catalano said.

Liz on Polk Street doesn't carry extra weight, and Catalano has gone easy on her since she shipped for the stakes race. "I just waited and built her up," he said.

Now the time is ripe, and Liz on Polk Street should gallop at odds of something like 2-5.

Possible overflow over the winter

Catalano, who is training for clients besides Calabrese, said he plans to winter at Fair Grounds this year, but could have overflow horses stabled at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida. Last year, Catalano took his string straight to Florida from Chicago.

Catalano said he had 30 stalls reserved at Fair Grounds, and hoped to procure at least five more.

Marquez a jet-setter

Carlos Marquez Jr., third in the Hawthorne jockey standings behind Chris Emigh and Larry Sterling Jr. with 17 wins, went to Texas last weekend and won a Lone Star stakes race Saturday for trainer Mike Stidham. A successful return trip this weekend could land a much bigger prize.

Several hours before he rode Native Annie to victory in a Texas-bred stakes, Marquez breezed Culinary, the undefeated filly who easily won the Arlington-Washington Lassie in her last race. With the work behind her, Culinary is all set for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Marquez's first Breeders' Cup race.

Between trips, it is business as usual for Marquez. He was to have ridden his usual complement of horses here Wednesday, but was named on just one mount Thursday. Marquez's agent, Penny Ffitch-Heyes, said Marquez would honor that call before jetting back to Texas on Thursday night. Marquez, Fitch-Heyes said, will return to action at Hawthorne on Sunday - perhaps a significantly wealthier man.