‘Cookin’ Wit Cat’: Catalano Shares Cooking Tips for Thanksgiving

Nov 19, 2023

Wayne Catalano is approaching 3,000 wins as a trainer and has more than 1,700 victories as a jockey but aside from his horse racing achievements, he may have just as many recipes as he does winner’s circle photos. Catalano will be devouring much of the traditional Thanksgiving fare this week including sweet potato casserole, a recipe passed down from his mother.

“When I left home to go to the racetrack, I always missed my mom’s cooking,” Catalano said. “My mom always made sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and I always have to use her recipe now for our meal.

“I can’t give too many secrets on her recipe but the key is always making sure you have enough cinnamon and plenty of marshmallows on top. I don’t need to cut weight anymore like when I used to ride and Thanksgiving is sort of a cheat day for anyone. Don’t worry about making it too sweet or too rich.”

This Thanksgiving, Catalano will not only fill the table with his specialty cooking but he will also have five horses in action between Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds. One day later, while many will be enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers, the aptly named Cookn Wit Catman will make his second start at Fair Grounds.

“Thanksgiving is all about tradition and our family we have the normal turkey for the main course but we always go with three sides: baked macaroni and cheese, oyster stuffing and sweet potato casserole,” Catalano said. “From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

Last week, Catalano shared how he prepares baked macaroni and cheese, which has a special twist that his wife suggested.

“This one is a really good one and it comes with a special touch from my wife, Renee, that she suggested,” Catalano said. “There are a million recipes out there to make macaroni and cheese. But, what you do with it after you make it in the pot makes this one unique.

“Mix up the macaroni and cheese however you want to do it. I like to add a bunch of different cheeses but it’s really whatever you have in the fridge. Throw it all in there with the seasonings and such. When I made this for the first time, I was on the road in Kentucky while my wife was back in Chicago and didn’t have an oven. So, my wife told me, ‘Just throw it on the grill.’ It turned out great. Even if you have an oven, it’ll save some space if you’re cooking all the rest of the Thanksgiving stuff and you can get some smoky flavor. I just took my pot off the stove after all the cheese melted and put it on the grill and closed the lid. I just checked on it until all the cheese started to bubble and it was ready to go.”

Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Catalano travel to Fair Grounds for the winter season where he’s sure to share his favorite Cajun delights on his X account @CatRacingStable.

GRADE II SECRETARIAT WINNER GIGANTE HEADLINES COMMONWEALTH TURF – Iapetus Racing and Diamond T Racing’s Grade II winner Gigante will lead a full field of 12 3-year-olds and three also-eligibles that entered Sunday’s 18th running of the $300,000 Commonwealth Turf (GIII), the featured event on closing day of the 2023 Fall Meet at Churchill Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile Commonwealth Turf, scheduled to run on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will go as Race 11 of 12 with a post time of 5:57 p.m. First post is 1 p.m.

Gigante, under the care of Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, has won four races from 11 career starts including a narrow victory in the Secretariat Stakes (GII) in mid-August at Colonial Downs. The Virginia-bred’s résumé also includes stakes victories in the Caesars Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis and the Kittens Joy at Colonial. Gigante will be ridden by Luan Machado out of post No. 9.

The Commonwealth Turf field features several accomplished 3-year-olds including Dueling Grounds Derby winner Anglophile, Bryan Station (GIII) winner Runaway Storm, Gio Ponti Stakes winner Northern Invader and impressive allowance winner Irish Aces.

Here is the complete field for the Commonwealth Turf from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Northern Invader (Jose Ortiz, Cherie DeVaux); Smokey Mandate (James Graham, Mike Maker); Anglophile (Declan Cannon, Brian Lynch); Worthington (Julien Leparoux, Mike Maker); Runaway Storm (Colby Hernandez, Ethan West); Ohana Honor (Kendrick Carmouche, Shug McGaughey III); Irish Aces (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Bal a Kazoo (Eddie Perez, Bob Gorham); Gigante (Machado, Asmussen);Winters Lion (Jareth Loveberry, Joe Sharp); Santorini (Alex Achard, Rodolphe Brisset); Lincoln Highway (Luis Saez, Vicki Oliver); Clyde’s Got a Gun (Orlando Mojica, Helen Pitts); Wild Sean (Hannah Leahey, Michelle Elliott); and J.P. Race (Agustin Gomez, Cirilo Gorostieta).

KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL 2 RUNS THURSDAY-SUNDAY – The second Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool is set for its four-day run beginning Thanksgiving Day.

The pool will feature 40 betting interests and will coincide with the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager where bettors can wager on the sires of potential Kentucky Derby runners.

Entrants for both pools will be released Monday and be opened for wagering Thursday at noon. Pool 2 closes Sunday at 6 p.m. while the Sire Future Wager will close 30 minutes later at 6:30 p.m.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Sunday’s nine-race card had a first post of 1 p.m. The Derby City 6 Jackpot was taken down Saturday at Churchill Downs for $222,670 when 29-1 longshot Divine Gal won the finale. … Erik Asmussen, the youngest son of Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen will make his riding debut Wednesday in Race 5 at Churchill Downs aboard Risk Profile. Erik has been regularly working horses for his father and will ride alongside his older brother, Keith. Erik was also named on two horses Sunday for his father.

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