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Catalano's Wild ride caps a great season for trainer
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

With jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, She Be Wild, trained by Wayne Catalano of Elgin, won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race at Santa Anita Park last Friday.

 

Associated Press

No stranger to the winner's circle, She Be Wild, trained by Arlington Park-based Wayne Catalano, won three races at Arlington this season before capturing the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race at Santa Anita Park last Friday.

 

Associated Press

She Be Wild, right, ridden by Julien Leparoux, beats, Beautician, center, ridden by Robby Albarado and Blind Luck, left, ridden by Tyler Base at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies horse race at Santa Anita Park last Friday.

 

Associated Press

It was a chance meeting that brought She Be Wild owners Nancy and Mike Mazzoni of Chicago together with longtime Arlington Park trainer Wayne Catalano. Last Friday, She Be Wild, second from right, won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies race.

 

Associated Press

Wayne Catalano

 

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Published: 11/10/2009 11:19 AM

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The Wayne Catalano file

Born: July 24, 1956, New Orleans, La.

Residence: Elgin

Family: wife Renee and daughter Shelbi

Racing background: Won 1,792 races during a nine-year riding career before chronic knee injuries forced his retirement in 1983.

Training career: Earned his eighth training title in the past 10 years and fifth straight at Arlington Park in 2009.

Breeders' Cup: In 2006, he sent Dreaming of Anna to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and she was rewarded with an Eclipse Award. Last Friday at Santa Anita, Catalano's trainee She Be Wild won the BC Juvenile Fillies, Catalano's second BC title.

A wild year personally ended with a Wild ride professionally for locally-based trainer Wayne Catalano when his filly, She Be Wild, captured the Breeders' Cup $2 million Juvenile Fillies last weekend at Santa Anita.

She Be Wild, who was 3-for-3 at Arlington Park earlier this year, rushed through along the rail for a three-quarters-length win at 7-1 odds, giving Catalano his second BC title. He also won with Dreaming of Anna in the same race at Churchill Downs in 2006.

But this one may have been the sweetest considering what Catalano, an eight-time training champion at Arlington, endured this year, a year that began with him parting ways with perennial leading owner Frank Calabrese and setting off on his own - once again.

"It's not easy when you lose 30 horses," Catalano said. "We were fortunate to have people give us horses to train. I appreciate all the opportunities. We have a great crew with (longtime assistant trainer) Fernando Contreras; all the ingredients are here."

And despite a slow start, things eventually meshed for Catalano and Co., who pulled away late to win their fifth consecutive training title at Arlington.

"It was an amazing run," he said. "To win the title at home after having to regroup - we thought it would take a while to get it done. And then to cap it off with a Breeders' Cup win."

A win that came about courtesy of being in the right place at the right time, specifically Keeneland race track during its spring meet.

It was there where a chance meeting between She Be Wild owners, Chicago natives Nancy and Mike Mazzoni, and Catalano proved fortuitous.

"After we decided to keep (She Be Wild) we obviously had to look for a trainer," Nancy Mazzoni said after the BC win. "We happened to be at Keeneland and we ran into some of our friends who saw Wayne scooting across the paddock area.

"Our friends introduced us to Wayne and fortunately at the time he didn't have a stable and we were fortunate that he decided to work with us."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

"It feels great," said Catalano, who is busy planning a route for She Be Wild to run in the Kentucky Oaks next spring. "It was a joy to be able to share it all with my wife Renee and my daughter Shelbi."

"As far as we're concerned, we couldn't have hooked up with a better trainer," Mike Mazzoni said.

That trainer now has a pair of Breeders' Cup wins, making for the inevitable comparisons between his two champs.

"It's easy," Catalano said. "They both brought me championships."