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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/28/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

SATURDAY’S WASHINGTON PARK ‘CAP SLEEPER: THREE HOUR NAP

Ten years ago, Illinois-based conditioner Hugh Robertson scored one of the biggest Arlington Park wins of his training career when he saddled Polar Expedition to capture the 1996 Washington Park Handicap.

On Saturday, the 55-year-old native of Columbus, Nebraska, will try again in the 74th running of Arlington’s Grade II Washington Park ‘Cap: Arlington’s richest race on the main track with its $300,000 purse. This time, however, Robertson’s horse – Three Hour Nap – which he owns in partnership with Homewrecker Racing LLC, might be overlooked in the wagering.

That’s because Three Hour Nap is in against horses like Stonecrest Farm’s Perfect Drift, the defending Washington Park ‘Cap champion attempting to become the classic’s first three-time winner; Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave, beaten only three lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall; and Barbara Cesare’s Second of June, who missed by a neck when second in last winter’s Grade II Oaklawn Handicap.

Nevertheless, you have to be in it to win it, and with that in mind, Robertson assessed his chances Friday morning during training hours.

“He (Three Hour Nap) has a chance if he runs his best race,” Robertson said of his 2006 Washington Park ‘Cap representative, “but if some of those others run as well as they have in the past, he’d better step it up a notch.”

Three Hour Nap, a 4-year-old colt by Afternoon Deelites, comes into Saturday’s race off a second-place finish in the Grade II Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 1 when he was beaten six lengths by the winning Siphon City, who was nominated to the Washington Park but will not go to the post.

“The winner drew off that day,” said Robertson of the nine-furlong Cornhusker. “My horse got in a little bit of traffic, so I think I was lucky to get second.”

Before that, in Arlington’s Grade III Hanshin Cup May 28 at one mile, Three Hour Nap made up some ground late despite being bumped in the stretch and finished third, beaten a length and a half for all of it.

Saturday’s extended distance might help Three Hour Nap’s chances, although the colt has never run this far previously. “It looks like the longer the better for him,” Robertson said, “but we’ll have to find out. One thing that should work in his favor is the Arlington Park surface. He seems to like the big turns here.”

As a 2-year-old in 2004, Three Hour Nap won his first two career starts locally, and then made it three in a row when he took down winning honors in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity.

Coincidentally, the Robertson-trained Polar Expedition – Illinois’ Horse of the Year three different seasons – also won Arlington’s Futurity as a juvenile, three years prior to his own Washington Park Handicap score.

SECOND OF JUNE APTLY NAMED

Barbara Cesare’s Second of June, one of the prime candidates for Saturday’s Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park, was foaled on June 2, 2001.

Also born on June 2, but in 1955, was the owner’s son – Bill Cesare – who serves as Second of June’s trainer.

Cesare, a former NFL player, was born in New York City, now lives in Hallandale Beach, Florida, but spent the majority of his NFL career on Florida’s West Coast with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his college career at the University of Miami. He also spent time with the Detroit Lions and the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL.

WAKE UP MAGGI! OWNER MOSS ENJOYS DREAM THURSDAY

Owner Maggi Moss’s silks were posed in Arlington’s winner’s circle twice Thursday with her only two starters of the day, both trained by Tom Amoss.

Moss and Amoss’s perfect afternoon began when they took the fifth with Zoeling, a sophomore son of Favorite Trick who remains undefeated in two starts, and then came back to capture the eighth race with Canela, another 3-year-old colt who won his third race from 13 career starts.

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