07/24/2001 11:00PM

Boss Ego's race draws a crowd


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - During training hours Wednesday morning at Arlington trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was asked if Boss Ego, a 5-year-old horse he trains, would be entered in Arlington's Friday feature. "Yes, if it goes," Hollendorfer replied.

Did it ever go. Ten horses entered the eighth race, a high-end money allowance with a $75,000 claiming option that only one entrant, Day Trade, will utilize. The number is huge for the kind of race that has become difficult to fill at tracks across the country, and it demonstrates the boost Arlington has gotten since it began its Summer Festival earlier this month. Friday's 10-race program is further supported by a contentious second-level turf allowance that immediately follows the feature.

Boss Ego is one of the prime threats in the feature, at one mile, though he did not run well returning from a short layoff here in a July 6 turf race. "He's a better dirt horse, but I'd breezed him on grass and I thought he'd run well," said Hollendorfer, who continues to top the trainer standings. "He didn't run a step."

Hollendorfer said Boss Ego has trained well enough since his last start, and the Pleasant Tap horse, who won three of four starts last year, has worked twice since his race. Ray Sibille has the mount.

Apt to Be probably is the horse to beat, coming off a good second-place finish here in the Grade 3 Hanshin Handicap, where he was just outfinished by Bright Valour, who saved ground while Apt to Be raced wide. Owned by Dick Duchossois and trained by Chris Block, Apt to Be is a lightly raced horse who hasn't yet hit his ceiling. His Hanshin effort revealed a new dimension as Apt to Be, headstrong and difficult to gear down at times, was outrun early but closed quickly under jockey Eusebio Razo. Friday's race may be no spot to relax, however, as Apt to Be has the speed to control the pace from post 2.

Block also entered Davey's Cutlass, whose return from injury and a long layoff in the White Oak Handicap last month was a bust. But Davey's Cutlass does have back class, and his recent works for Block have been sharp.

Intern, winner of two straight on turf, starts for the hot Louie Roussel barn, while Classic Appeal, like Davey's Cutlass an Illinois-bred, makes his fourth start of the Arlington meet.

Raypour, who drops from stakes company, heads the turf allowance, which drew a field of 12.

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