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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/10/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


The $40,000 Shecky Greene Handicap, a six-furlong sprint restricted to 3-year-olds, serves as the main event for Friday's opening day program at Arlington Park in 2005 and trainer Hugh Robertson is planning a two-pronged attack on the featured dash.

Jer-Mar Stable LLC's Smoke Smoke Smoke, winner of Hawthorne's Lost Code Breeders' Cup April 9 and the highweight among 18 Shecky Greene nominations, finished third behind Afleet Alex in Oaklawn's Mountain Valley Stakes March 5. That colt went on to run third in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday as the second choice in the wagering.

Smoke Smoke Smoke should find easier competition in Friday's race. Ironically, one of his main expected rivals is Three Hour Nap, also trained by Robertson and co-owned by the conditioner and Homewrecker Racing LLC.

Three Hour Nap was seventh behind Smoke Smoke Smoke in the Lost Code but was making his first start of the year that day. As a 2-year-old last summer, the Afternoon Deelites colt captured the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity on closing day Sept. 19 after winning twice over the Arlington surface earlier in the summer. He shares the third highest weight of 119 pounds Friday in the assignments of racing secretary Frank Gabriel Jr.

Who did Robertson think was the better of his two colts, at least in Friday's Shecky Greene 'Cap?

"Smoke is a little better," said Robertson Tuesday. "At least sprinting, anyway. He's run well whatever race he runs in. He always gives you his best."

Among those past efforts are a five and a quarter-length win in the Canterbury Juvenile in July and a second in Oaklawn's Dixieland Stakes in January where he was beaten by Razor, runner-up in the Mountain Valley.

"But I'm also going to run Three Hour Nap Friday," said Robertson. "He's only had one outing this year and hopefully he will improve this time. Also, maybe a return to the Arlington surface will help him."

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