07/27/2001 12:00AM

Apt To Be hungry for turf-course debut

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Apt To Be's lack of appetite has landed him in Arlington's Sunday feature.

Apt To Be, owned by Dick Duchossois and trained by Chris Block, probably would have been favored here in Friday's feature, a money allowance race at one mile on dirt. But when Apt To Be failed to clean up his feed Thursday night, Block, taking a cautious approach, pulled him out of Friday's race to start Sunday in a fourth-level turf allowance with a $75,000 claiming option.

Apt To Be, Block said Friday, appeared to have perked up by Friday morning, but Block was taking no chances.

"I don't want to send him out there if he's not going to be 100 percent," Block said. "He trained phenomenally this morning and he ate. His blood count came back good."

In his last start, Apt To Be finished a strong second here in the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap, and Block said the effort knocked the colt out a bit.

"It took him about a week to get back on his feed after the Hanshin," Block said.

That was a concern, because Apt To Be typically bounces back quickly after his races.

The change in plans gives Block a chance to try Apt To Be on turf, something he had designs on since before the Arlington meet began. By Rahy, Apt To Be is bred for grass and tried it twice last summer, finishing third in both of his starts here. Since then, Apt To Be has matured and learned to relax more in his races, attributes Block hopes might move the colt up on turf.

The main competition should come from Langston, who bounded to a clear early lead in the Grade 3 Stars And Stripes Handicap here July 1, set a tepid pace, and held on well to finish second. Owned by Frank Calabrese and trained by Wayne Catalano, Langston was claimed for $80,000 late last summer and required a long layoff immediately thereafter, but the colt has run well in all three of his starts this year.

Of the other eight entered in the race, six start for a claiming price, among them Promise Of War, who won despite stumbling in the stretch two starts ago and was flying at the end of his most recent race.

* Royal Spy, who shipped in from Lone Star and finished third as the favorite in the Grade 2 American Derby, has remained on the grounds and will run next in the Grade 1 Secretariat on Aug. 18.

* A heavy worktab here Friday included moves by multiple stakes winner Frankly My Dear, who went a half-mile in 47 seconds for trainer Mike Stidham, and Five Star Day, the crack sprinter who is slated to start next at Saratoga for trainer Beau Greely.