06/07/2003 12:00AM

Arlington: Apt to Be takes Dr. Fager


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It's Dick Duchossois's track, and his horse Apt to Be ran like he owned it.

In one of the best races of his solid career, Apt to Be rallied from a few lengths behind a fast pace and won the $46,800 Dr. Fager Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths at Arlington. Apt to Be's win was the first of the meet for Duchossois, the Arlington chairman.

Apt to Be is 6 now, and he has been racing with success for several years at Arlington, where Apt to Be now is 6 for 9. But age takes its toll, and Apt to Be finished sixth here May 17 in his first start of the season. Apt to Be had pressed a fast early pace that day, and, making his first start in months, he had a right to get tired. Still, one wondered how much Apt to Be still had left in his tank.

Plenty, it turns out. Under jockey Eddie Razo, Apt to Be, normally a pace factor, let Stormy Impact go out and set splits of 22.86 seconds for a quarter-mile and 45.32 for a half-mile. Ole Faunty tracked the pacesetter as Apt to Be moved up from fourth to third to second coming into the stretch. He had dead aim on Stormy Impact, reached him about the eighth pole and finished up strongly, getting a mile in 1:35.75, a fast time for this surface.

Stormy Impact held well but was nipped for second by the late-running Dulce De Leche.

* Jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. was taken to the hospital for X-rays after going down in an ugly spill in the fourth race. Distorted Power came over slightly in midstretch and clipped Juarez's mount, Naskramoon, who went down hard. Naskramoon, who had to be euthanized, fell over Juarez, who complained of pain in his foot and shoulder.