Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Wednesday, Aug. 28

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/28/2013 #
  • William Stiritz's Hogy, shown winning the G3 Hanshin on Polytrack, is taking his act to turf for new trainer Wayne Catalano.

In Today’s Notes: Catalano’s Local Turf Stars Plot Paths; Tamazula Turns Some Heads

Wayne Catalano is no stranger to an abundance of success at Arlington International Racecourse and the 2013 season has been no different for the 10-time leading trainer.  One thing that might be seen as marginally novel is the profusion of stakes-quality turf runners coming from his barn.  In addition to multiple Grade I-winning stable star Stephanie’s Kitten, who is currently rehabbing from a minor injury she suffered at Saratoga Race Course, he has budding marathon horse Code of Conduct, sophomore filly stakes winner I’m Already Sexy and new acquisition the graded stakes-winning Hogy.

Gary and Mary West’s Code of Conduct recently took a bold step up in distance and class in the $400,000 American St. Leger on Million Day and that daring attempt resulted in a close fourth-place finish, losing by about a length and a half for it all.  Dismissed as the second-longest shot on the board at 16-1, he was masterfully ridden by Florent Geroux and for a brief moment took the lead in mid-stretch to look like a winner. 

“I thought he ran really well,” reflected Catalano.  “That’s why we had him in there.  He was running and training really good.”

Catalano now has more options for the son of Tapit, a stallion known for six- to nine-furlong specialists.  “We are going to look at races like that, now.  Longer races on the grass,” he confirmed.

Also on Million Day, Hit The Board Stable’s I’m Already Sexy won the first division of the $81,050 Hatoof Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.  The daughter of Ready’s Image seized the lead and demolished her competition with a facile 4¾-length victory under Florent Geroux that day.  Her time of 1:40.93 earned her an 89 Beyer Speed Figure and was .76 seconds faster than the other division won by Team Block’s I O Ireland later in the card. 

“She’s doing really good.  We were expecting her to run well and she did,” commented Catalano.  “Now we’ll point her to the (Grade III $175,000) Puck Up (Stakes on Sept. 14).”

An intriguing addition to the Catalano squad is William Stiritz’s Hogy, a winner last out at Saratoga in his first race adorning the Catalano white bridle.  In that race, the $100,000 Troy Stakes over 5½ grassy furlongs, he overhauled highly regarded turf sprinter Great Mills and won with his ears pricked under Joe Rocco, Jr.

“They sent him to me about three weeks before the race,” revealed Catalano.  “He worked twice for me and he trained very well. The race set up perfectly.  He likes the outside and ran well.  He’s just a nice horse and had great form before I got him.”

Prior to joining Catalano’s barn, Hogy was in the care of Scott Becker for Stiritz and won the Grade III Hanshin Cup over a mile on Arlington’s Polytrack on May 25 and was second in the July 6 $100,000 Arlington Sprint to local sprinting luminary Saint Leon over 5½ furlongs on the turf.  With his quality form validated on a stage such as Saratoga, the son of Offlee Wild might point toward the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. 

“We are hoping we can do that with him,” said Catalano.  “First we will look at a couple turf sprints in Kentucky and there’s also (the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile on Sept. 8) at Presque Isle (Downs).  We will sit down and plan out the next move soon.”

On Aug. 24, Hernandez Racing Club’s Tamazula caught the attention of the Arlington crowd with a brilliant performance to break her maiden in her second start.  In her initial start on Aug. 1, the daughter of Two Step Salsa missed the break and was never a part of the dogfight developing ahead of her, finishing evenly a few lengths back in third.  Such did not occur on Saturday.  Under new jockey Kent Desormeaux, the filly broke well from the rail, took back and circled around the Mike Stidham-trained highly regarded favorite Skipping.

“She ran good.  Did you see the figure?  She’s a very good filly,” exclaimed trainer Armando De La Cerda, who has been very high on the filly all summer.  Tamazula earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure – the highest of any 2-year-old filly in 2013 in North America.  “Someone from New York offered $300,000 for her when she won.”

After such a professional performance, De La Cerda is excited to prepare her for a step up in class and distance in the one-mile $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sept. 7.  “I think she will run a mile, easy.  She relaxes really good,” he confidently stated.