10/28/2003 12:00AM

Apt to Be's year likely over


CHICAGO - Until Sunday, everything had gone startlingly well this year for 6-year-old Apt to Be. After reaching the best form of his career with a seven-length win in the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap at Arlington, Apt to Be came up with a foot problem. He returned Sept. 21 with a strong allowance win and shipped to Churchill Downs for Sunday's Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap training like a bear.

Favored at 2-1, Apt to Be ran about a quarter-mile - and stopped. His rider, Eddie Razo, told trainer Chris Block that Apt to Be "was just galloping in the stretch." Beaten more than 33 lengths, Apt to Be hated the muddy Churchill racing surface, which may have stung his sensitive feet. He stopped before ever getting into the race.

"He started to flounder, and he said, to hell with it," Block said. "I think he just protected himself."

The effort - or lack of one - clouded Apt to Be's otherwise productive campaign, and he may not race again this season. Block said Apt to Be would remain in training until the end of November, but if no suitable race can be found by then at Hawthorne or Churchill, Apt to Be is finished for this year.

Block used to go to Florida during winter, but now stays in Chicago year-round. Most of his stable rests during the hiatus here in January and February. But Mystery Giver, Block's stakes-quality grass horse, is scheduled this winter for another trip to Fair Grounds, where Richie Scherer takes over Block's training. Mystery Giver enjoys the Fair Grounds grass course, and won the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup there last season.

Summer Mis changes plans

Plans have changed for Summer Mis, who won the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 12.

Summer Mis was supposed to go straight to the Top Flight Handicap on Nov. 28 at Aqueduct, but is now scheduled to face Illinois-breds in a $100,000-added stakes Nov. 8 at Hawthorne.

"We're pointing for Illinois day," said Tony Mitchell, who trains Summer Mis for owner Richard Otto. "We'll see how she comes out of that race before we decide on the Top Flight."

Mitchell said Otto believes a win at Hawthorne would enhance Summer Mis's chances of becoming Illinois's horse of the year.

Summer Mis, who does best with ample time between starts, walked for a week after her tough win at Keeneland.

"She's only been back at the track for three days," Mitchell said Tuesday. "Normally, she gets a week to 10 days off after she runs. She was tired after her last race, but I think she's over it now."

Two-year-olds go two turns

A pair of first-level allowance races for 2-year-olds is the highest-class fare on a nine-race Thursday program at Hawthorne.

At one mile and 70 yards, the day's first race gives six 2-year-olds a rare chance to run long. Slew City Mike is the only entrant with two-turn experience, but his debut win came on grass, not dirt. The pick here is Code of Angels, who has improved race by race through a three-start career, and was second on Oct. 10 to Persuaggle, a colt with some talent.

The sixth race in the program is for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs. The race should showcase the talent of Bad Kitty, who drops in class from the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, and returns to sprinting after racing a mile against fillies such as Zosima and Everyday Angel.

* The feature here this weekend is Saturday's Grade 3 Robert Carey Memorial Handicap, Chicago's last graded stakes of the season. It is a one-mile grass race for older horses.