Friday, October 9, 2009

Alcibiades: Big test for She Be Wild

David Grening,
Daily Racing Form

Three years after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with the undefeated Dreaming of Anna, trainer Wayne Catalano hopes to be in position to do it again with She Be Wild.

Undefeated from her first three starts, She Be Wild will face her toughest test yet when she heads a 12-horse field entered in Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. The Alcibiades, which offers an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 6 as part of the Win and You're In program, is one of three important races in the division this weekend. The Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont and Grade 3 Mazarine at Woodbine - both Saturday - could also produce starters for the Juvenile Fillies.

She Be Wild could go down as the one that got away for many people. Bred by Nancy Mazzoni, She Be Wild failed to reach her reserve at the Ocala Breeders' Sales 2-year-old-in training auction, bringing a final bid of $19,000. Then Mazzoni and Catalano took a chance by running her for maiden $40,000 at Arlington Park on May 30, a race she won by 7 1/4 lengths.

Catalano explained that She Be Wild had been nursing some sore shins and he wanted to find the easiest spot possible for She Be Wild, who was ready to run. Since she was on the small side and wasn't impeccably bred - she's by Offlee Wild out of the winless race mare Trappings - Catalano thought he could get away with offering her for a tag first out.

"We were still happy to have her after the race," Catalano said.

With no urgency to get her back to the entries, Catalano waited two months to run She Be Wild again. In the Top Flight Stakes at Arlington on Aug. 8, She Be Wild had a good stalking trip and cruised to a 5 1/4-length victory against 10 opponents while being geared down the final sixteenth of a mile by Junior Alvarado.

"She beat some pretty nice horses pretty handily," Catalano said. "That's when we really got excited about her."

The excitement continued in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sept. 5, when She Be Wild again drew off from the competition, winning by 5 3/4 lengths after making a nifty move to split horses and get to the outside approaching the quarter pole.

Friday's Alcibiades will be She Be Wild's first race around two turns and will certainly be her toughest test in terms of competition.

"The way she ran the other day, I think we're in good shape," Catalano said when asked if two turns was a concern.

Catalano is making a rider switch for the Alcibiades, electing to go with defending Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez over Alvarado.

"I let the owner know that [Gomez] was available for the race, and we made the decision to get him," Catalano said. "We want to take our best shot."

Catalano is hesitant to put She Be Wild in Dreaming of Anna's category just yet.

"I'm very happy where She Be Wild is right now," Catalano said. "But until they step up and run the way Dreaming of Anna did, you just don't know. You hope they can go on and be that good. Dreaming of Anna made the transition from 2 to 3, which a lot of horses don't do. Right now, I'd like to make this next step and go on to the Breeders' Cup."

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