Wayne Catalano's career in racing began at the urging of one of his uncles. As a teenager his uncle took notice of his diminutive size and suggested that he go to the race track to become a jockey. So Wayne took his advice and went to Fair Grounds where he made the acquaintance of hall of fame trainer Jack Van Berg, and the rest is history.
Wayne began exercising horses for Van Berg and then started riding competitively, scoring his first victory on May 20, 1974, at Churchill Downs on a horse named Hellfire. Wayne ranked as North America's second-leading rider by wins in 1977 and enjoyed a streak of 41 consecutive riding days with at least one win. In all, Wayne won 1,792 races during a nine-year riding career before chronic knee injuries forced him into retirement as a jockey in 1983.
Upon leaving the saddle for good, Wayne continued his love affair with the game by entering the realm of training Thoroughbreds and he has become one of the nation's top trainers. Based in Chicago, Wayne won his ninth Arlington Park training title in the past 11 years in 2010; having won the title previously in 2000, '02, '03, '05, '06, '07, '08, and '09. His win streak was stopped in 2011 when he finished third in the standings. Wayne has also won training titles at Sportsman's Park in 1988 and 1989 and Hawthorne in 1987 and 1989.
His first major stakes success came with the Darrell and Evelyn Yates-owned Crypto Star, who captured the 1997 Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby en route to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Crypto Star's victory in the Louisiana Derby in front of Catalano's "home crowd" is still one of the top highlights of his career. Stabled year-round in Chicago, Wayne also has horses in training in Kentucky and Florida during the winter months.
Catalano trains 2014 Kentucky Oaks contenders Room Service and Aurelia's Belle.