Three Hour Nap Puts His NJC Rivals to Sleep

Homewrecker Stable's Three Hour Nap came through a narrow opening on the turn for home and scooted away to a hard-fought one-length victory over Summer Book in Saturday's $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) 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.

The fourth choice in a field of six, Three Hour Nap returned $12.40, $6.80, and $5.80. Summer Book, ridden by Jesse Campbell, paid $16.40 and $6.20, and third place finisher Courthouse (John Jacinto) returned $9.40 to show.

Nkosi Reigns finished fourth, with Evening Attire fifth. Colita, the even-money favorite, was never a factor and finished last.

"(Three Hour Nap) does better when he has a horse to run at," said Torres, who recently returned to the Chicago riding colony following a long absence. "We just got lucky when the fence opened up today."

As a 2-year-old in 2004, Three Hour Nap won the Arlington Washington Futurity (gr. III), but he's been slowed by injury ever since. The win pushed his career mark to 6-0-2 in 12 starts with earnings of $368,217.

"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 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 more than $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."

Colita, a well-regarded 6-year-old horse who is still seeking his first stakes win for Todd Pletcher, also disappointed.

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

(Chart, Equibase)