Updated on 09/17/2011 10:51AM

Apt To Be wins first stakes

David Zenner
Apt To Be ($9.80) wins his first stakes by seven-lengths in the Grade 3, $100,000 Hanshin Handicap.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - When Apt To Be began his career winning three times in five races, the last of them an eight-length blowout here, Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois seemed to have a stakes horse on his hands.

He did. It just took a while.

Sunday, almost three years later, Apt To Be won his first stakes, and he won it with an exclamation point. Stalking the fast internal pace of There's Zealous, Apt To Be roared off the far turn and drew away to a seven-length win in the Grade 3, $100,000 Hanshin Handicap.

There's Zealous held on for second, a head in front of San Pedro, who was three-quarters of a length ahead of Ask The Lord.

Duchossois, who bred Apt To Be himself, won his first Arlington graded stakes since the Arlington Classic in 1991.

Apt To Be has raced sparingly throughout his career, and after taking the winter off he was a tiring sixth in an allowance race here last month before winning an overnight handicap June 7.

"He loves the one-turn mile here at Arlington," said trainer Chris Block. "After he won the last time, I decided we were going to run (in the Hanshin) unless there was a monster that came in from out of town."

There were no monsters. Bonus Pack was the 2-1 favorite, but never fired. Instead, it was There's Zealous who got away with a slow first quarter-mile in 23.49 seconds, but proceeded to rip through his next five furlongs in about 58 seconds. Apt To Be and the hot-riding Eddie Razo raced alone in a stalking position, and when Razo asked Apt To Be to go after There's Zealous, his horse quickly responded.

Apt To Be pounced on There's Zealous and ran alone through most of the stretch, getting a mile on a fast track in a strong 1:34.40. He paid $9.80 to win.

Bonus Pack finished fifth, followed by Bright Valour and R. Baggio.