06/28/2005 12:00AM

Back to sidelines for Three Hour Nap

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Benoit & Associates
Three Hour Nap (inside) defeated Devilment by a neck Sunday, but sustained a slight crack in a cannon bone.

CHICAGO - Just as he came back into form, Three Hour Nap is going back to the farm.

Two days after saddling Three Hour Nap to win an overnight stakes, a prep for the Round Table Stakes, trainer Hugh Robertson said Three Hour Nap had come out of last Sunday's race with an injury and would miss the rest of the season.

"Now he's on the shelf again," Robertson said. "He had a little bit of a fractured cannon bone last year, and he just opened up the crack again. I guess you could run him - he's not lame on it or anything, and it's really not that big of a deal. But I'm afraid if we keep running him, it could get worse. We'll turn him out and bring him back next season."

Three Hour Nap won Sunday for the first time since taking the Arlington-Washington Futurity here late last summer. Robertson had struggled to find the right comeback race for him this past winter at Oaklawn Park, and wound up bringing Three Hour Nap back in a tough spot, the six-furlong Lost Code Breeders' Cup at Hawthorne. Unplaced there, Three Hour Nap did better when he finished third in an overnight sprint stakes early in the Arlington meet, but he failed to fire in his grass debut - another overnight stakes - and finally produced a top effort in Sunday's Native Dancer, beating the promising colt Devilment by a neck. It was another 4 3/4 lengths back to the show horse, Pressed.

Ward's best fillies take it easy

Nobody with a really good horse is pressing as hard as they can right now at Arlington. The track has been baked fast, and the whole Chicago area is rain-starved and gripped in a heat wave. Trainer John Ward, conservative by nature, is not about to knock out one of his fine group of Arlington-based 3-year-old fillies during this tough-to-train spell.

For All We Know, undefeated after three races, is the only one of Ward's talented trio of fillies to have posted a recent workout here. She went an easy half-mile last Friday, and will make her next start in either the July 16 Delaware Oaks or the July 23 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont, according to Ward's Chicago assistant, Sally Schu.

"That was just maintenance," Schu said. "It's so darn hot."

Schu said that both Seek a Star and Miss Matched were "on a little break right now."

Schu noted that there's really nothing for Miss Matched anytime soon "unless we go to Delaware, and I don't think John really wants to go there."

The Ward stable will have a starter in the Arlington Classic on Saturday: Gold Minister recently won an allowance race on this grass course, but will need to take a major step forward to contend with likely favorite Guillaume Tell.

Frankel could have 'Stars' favorite

The field for Sunday's $200,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap still was taking shape early this week, with five or six starters confirmed and a couple other horses on the fence. The Stars and Stripes runs into competition from Saturday's United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park, which offers a $750,000 purse and Grade 1 classification.

The ageless Rochester, still going strong at 9, is expected to start here, along with the locally based standout Cloudy's Knight. Trainer Bobby Frankel could enter two in the 12-furlong Stars and Stripes, according to Arlington racing officials. The Frankel horses being considered are Exterior, who finished third in the Jim Murray Handicap last out, and Vangelis, who was second in the Jim Murray and probably would be favored here Sunday if he runs. Others considered likely starters are Art Variety and Swagger Stick.

Feature sets up for a closer

Thursday's featured third race, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, drew a field of just six, but there is speed aplenty in the race, and the pick to win from off the pace is White Buck. White Buck, from the Hugh Robertson barn, won a third-level allowance at nine furlongs two starts ago at Hawthorne, but failed to fire last out in an overnight handicap at 12 furlongs on turf. That race was too far and on the wrong surface, and White Buck, entered for the $50,000 tag, should rebound Thursday.

Rugula headed to Saratoga

Trainer Grant Forster said Rugula, who won the Double Delta on June 19 in her turf debut, got a clean bill of health last week when radiographs showed no damage to a knee that had Forster concerned.

"It turned out she was fine," Forster said. "Right now we're planning on running on July 29 at Saratoga in the Lake George."

* Trainer Wayne Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese teamed up to win seven races last week, including triples on both Wednesday and Friday.