09/07/2003 11:00PM

Rivals with far different goals


CHICAGO - For Twilight Road, a stakes-quality sprinter-miler, there have been better things than Wednesday's featured eighth race at Arlington Park. There may be more in the not too distant future. For Attack the Books, a 4-year-old allowance-class horse, Wednesday's race is the thing itself.

Attack the Books has a specialty - one-turn miles on dirt at Arlington. That is how the Wednesday race will be contested, and that is why Attack the Books should run his best. Twilight Road's people are hoping their horse can rebound from a subpar effort July 26 in the Don Bernhardt Handicap at Ellis Park. If the horse gets back on track, he ought to return to stakes races: the Ack Ack at Churchill comes up in October, and Twilight Road won it easily last season.

"I thought he'd run a little better than that at Ellis," said Twilight Road's trainer, Paul McGee.

Twilight Road finished last of seven, but at his best is a Grade 3-type horse between seven furlongs and a mile. McGee said Twilight Road doesn't like to ship and run, and so the horse has been training steadily at Arlington. He has breezed here just once, posting a five-furlong workout in 1:02 on Sept. 3.

"He's sound as a brass bell and always has been, so he has that going for him," McGee said. "He gets so much out of his gallops you don't need to do that much with him."

Trainer David Hinsley has bided his time with Attack the Books this summer. Races in his horse's wheelhouse have been difficult to find. Twice, Attack the Books has run in one-turn dirt miles, and twice he has won.

"He prefers the flat mile on dirt, but he can run a little on turf," Hinsley said. "We enter him in those turf races, and if they come off, great. Now, it's just a matter of getting a good trip and if things work out for us."

In Wednesday's race, Hinsley fears Castlewood, who has not lost since February. "To win four in a row, that takes a pretty tough horse," he said.

Intern also may be tough. Third in a July 18 sprint race here, his first start since the winter, Intern appeared to tire late in a nine-furlong overnight handicap on Aug. 16, and may finish with better energy this time. Missme, who hasn't won in 15 months, completes the field.