08/17/2001 12:00AM

Easier spot for Ioya Two


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - If Chris Block were the type of trainer who liked to take shots with his horses, Ioya Two would be running at Arlington on Saturday. Because Block is not, Ioya Two starts Sunday, in the $60,000-added Reluctant Guest Stakes.

Ioya Two, winner of the Grade 3 Modesty in her last race, is part of a strong nine-horse field entered in the Reluctant Guest, which is run at 1 1/16 miles on turf. She should rule a fairly narrow favorite over good turf fillies like Watch, Golden Antigua, Lady of Peace, and Flinch.

The Modesty is the local prep for the Grade 1 Beverly D., part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing, which was to be held Saturday. After Ioya Two held off Megan's Bluff's desperate stretch rally to win by a nose, Block faced a difficult decision: Take a shot in the Beverly D., or keep his mare where he felt she best fit.

For Block, the call really wasn't that hard. Immediately after the Modesty, he deemed Ioya Two an unlikely starter in the Beverly D., and he stuck to that position in the next three weeks. Ioya Two, Block's first graded stakes winner, was bred and is owned by his family, which races under the stable name Team Block. The mare is destined for a broodmare career with the Blocks, and her Modesty win provided a huge boost to her residual value.

"The Modesty was our Beverly D," Block said.

Ioya Two led virtually all the way winning the Modesty, but only because there was a lack of true pace in the race. She may run best as a stalker, and should have the chance to sit off the pace of Watch and Alybgood under Robby Albarado, named to ride Ioya Two for the first time.

Watch, owned by Claiborne Farm and trained by Frankie Brothers, skipped the Modesty but won an Aug. 1 allowance here with authority. Jockey Lonnie Meche may at least have to use the filly early to establish position, if he does not go to the lead.

Trainer Wayne Catalano remains very high on Golden Antigua, a 4-year-old filly owner Frank Calabrese claimed this winter for $60,000. Golden Antigua has won twice since then, in a minor stakes at Hawthorne and most recently in a strong allowance race here on July 21.

Trainer Dick Lundy has won with seven of 23 starters here, a record he's compiled by putting his horses in the right spots. Lundy's acuity makes Flinch an interesting upset possibility, especially since the filly she beat in an allowance win here last month, Sluice, came back to win an overnight stakes race.