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Hawthorne Racecourse (4/22/06)

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Three Hour Nap Puts National Jockey Club Foes to Rest

Homewrecker Stable LLC’s Three Hour Nap stalked the early pacesetters, came through a narrow opening on the turn for home, and scooted away to a hard-fought one-length victory over Summer Book to capture the 51st running of Saturday’s $250,000 Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course. Trained by Hugh Robertson, the 4-year-old son of Afternoon Deelites was guided to the victory by jockey Francisco Torres. He completed the nine furlong distance in 1:52.48 over a fast track.

Three Hour Nap returned $12.40, $6.80 and $5.80. Summer Book paid $16.40 and $6.20, and third place finisher Courthouse returned $9.40 to show.

“This horse runs (Three Hour Nap) does better when he has a horse to run at,” said winning jockey Francisco Torres, who recently returned to the Chicago riding colony on Friday following a long absence. “We just got lucky when the fence opened up today. I have to give the credit to Hugh Robertson. He’s done a tremendous job of getting this horse together and keeping him together.”

As a 2-year-old, Three Hour Nap won the Grade III Arlington Washington Futurity (2004), but he’s been slowed by injury ever since.

“He cracked both of his cannon bones in the Futurity (at Keeneland) as a 2-year-old, and when he came back last year, right after he won a race, he re-injured a cannon bone,” said trainer Hugh Robertson, who also won the 1998 edition of the National Jockey Club Handicap with the Illinois-bred legend Polar Expedition. “So, we gave him the time off. Hopefully he’ll be sound now. He’s a pretty nice horse and always acted like a mile and an eighth would be his best distance. Maybe it will be. It was good winning this race. It kind of choked me up, remembering the old horse (Polar Expedition).”

Evening Attire, the leading money-earner in the field with over $2.5 million in the bank, checked in fifth.

"On the backside, I thought I had a lot of horse but at the half-mile pole he just spit the bit,” said jockey Chris Emigh. “They (connections) said he can be kind of quirky about the racetracks he runs on and just gives up. That's why he likes New York (tracks)."

Colita, the even-money favorite, finished sixth and last.

“When he switched leads on the backside, I was never really comfortable with the way he was going,” said Colita’s rider Jose Santos.

John Jacinto, rider, third-place finisher Courthouse, “He ran a heck of a race. He got a little outclassed, that’s all. He did everything he could through the stretch. He’s a fighter. He never gave up. I thought he was going to quit about the half mile pole but he just kept fighting. He never quit.”

Jesse Campbell, rider, 2nd, Summer Book, “He broke well and was right where we wanted to be so that didn’t hurt things. We were all very happy with his effort. This was by far his best race. You can’t just sit on this horse. You have to ride him all the way. He was gelded about three weeks ago. They didn’t think it was going to take quite that fast and make a difference that quickly. It usually takes more time but with him, he’s always been a corky horse, so maybe it just sunk in that soon. He ran well and tried all the way. That’s all you can ask.”

Pat Kelly, trainer Evening Attire, “He broke well and was up there, he just didn’t finish the way we had hoped. The surface seemed to be a little hard and dry, and he’s really quirky about the track he runs on.”

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs February 24 through May 4 with live racing five days per week: Friday through Tuesday. Post time is 1:10 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Hawthorne is dark Wednesdays and Thursdays and Easter Sunday April 16, but full card simulcasting from racetracks across the country is offered every day.

Hawthorne’s summer 2006 Standardbred meet runs May 6 through June 17 with live racing six days per week: Tuesday through Sunday. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Opening day, Saturday, May 6, post time will be at 6:30 p.m.

Hawthorne’s fall 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.

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