12/13/2004 12:00AM

Humor at Last ready for Edgar

Four-Footed Fotos
Humor at Last, here winning the Sun Power, will now try two turns.

CHICAGO - Humor at Last had his last workout on Monday for the last stakes of the Chicago racing season, Saturday's $100,000-added Jim Edgar Futurity for Illinois-bred 2-year-olds.

And while Humor at Last is an Illinois-bred, there has not been a more impressive 2-year-old at Hawthorne this meet. Humor at Last cruised to a blowout debut win here Oct. 17, and was equally impressive winning the Nov. 13 Sun Power Stakes by more than two lengths over a nice colt named Stormy Afternoon.

Monday's half-mile work, timed in 49 seconds over fast going, was simply a maintenance breeze to get Humor at Last into the Edgar in top shape, according to trainer Tony Mitchell.

"He had a good work last week," said Mitchell, who trains Humor at Last for owners Ron Armstrong and Jack Wallace.

Mitchell has always trained Humor at Last, but Armstrong and Wallace purchased him privately from the estate of Russell Reineman, the longtime Chicago owner, earlier this year. After Reineman's death, his heirs sold some of his Thoroughbred stock, while keeping others to race and breed.

The Edgar, at 1 1/16 miles, will be Humor at Last's two-turn debut, but he is by Distorted Humor, who already has produced a Kentucky Derby winner in Funny Cide, and Mitchell believes distance won't be an issue.

"I really think this horse might be something special," said Mitchell. "He's so athletic in everything he does."

Mitchell said Larry Sterling, aboard for both races so far, will fly back to Chicago from California to ride Humor at Last in the Edgar, which is expected to draw a full field.

Old gang back again

The seven horses in Wednesday's featured fourth race don't lack for familiarity. Three ran in the sixth race here Dec. 5, two in the third race Nov. 19, and the other two in the seventh race on Oct. 11.

All that information and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

And if the Hawthorne racing surface continues to play as it did last weekend, when front-runners reigned supreme on a blazing-fast track, the essential nugget is the knowledge that Teller Line has speed and the rail. Teller Line, who made her last start Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs, has a good chance to lead all the way in this third-level route allowance with a $35,000 claiming option.

Teller Line, trained by Mike Campbell, was third in that Churchill allowance and third the last time she raced here at Hawthorne, but she comes into Wednesday's race after a nice breather, and her five-furlong work here Dec. 3, the 15th best of 40 on the morning, gives off good vibes.

If the pace is sluggish and the track carries speed, the sharpest horse in the race, Zitlaly, will have little chance. Zitlaly has moved up since switching from turf races three starts ago, and was second to stakes winner Code of Ethics at this class level 10 days ago. But Zitlaly likes to rate at the back of the field and make a move coming into the stretch, often while wide, and that style won't win a slow-paced race if Hawthorne is the speed palace it was over the weekend.

Kirby closing strongly

Twelve racing days remain in the meet, and trainer Frank Kirby has put forth a late-season surge. After a good showing last week, Kirby was up to 22 wins, one behind Steve Asmussen in the Hawthorne standings.

Kirby has more stock available for Hawthorne races than any of his close competitors, and he is the favorite to win another training title after topping the Arlington meet this summer.