03/14/2008 11:00PM

Mr. Soul shows his potential

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STICKNEY, Ill. - After a subpar race last out at Oaklawn Park, Mr. Soul was shipped to Chicago to start at Hawthorne. Trainer Hugh Robertson hoped a change of scenery would help boost the fortunes of Mr. Soul, who had shown promise a year ago at Oaklawn but failed to develop much during the remainder of 2007, though he did win a summer allowance race over Arlington's Polytrack before going on the shelf.

The plan worked, and the question now is how far Mr. Soul might come forward over a tricky Hawthorne racing surface he obviously relished on Friday, when he won a second-level allowance race by almost seven lengths.

"That was the best race he's ever run, I think," Robertson said.

Mr. Soul assumed the early lead Friday in a paceless race, and when his pursuers came to him just before the quarter pole, Mr. Soul re-broke for jockey Eddie Perez and raced solo through the final furlong. Given Mr. Soul's inherent talent, and the fact he has come along slowly, it would not be out of the question for Mr. Soul to improve enough to become a minor stakes horse. Robertson said, however, that Mr. Soul "isn't a very big, strong horse," and that he might need time between starts.

Three Hour Nap down on the farm

Mr. Soul could easily show up again before the end of the Hawthorne meet, but do not look for the return of another Robertson horse, Three Hour Nap. Three Hour Nap, who won the 2006 National Jockey Club Handicap at Hawthorne, was retired last fall after fracturing his cannon bone in a sprint race at Churchill Downs.

Three Hour Nap is at a southern Illinois farm, where he will breed "a few mares" this season, Robertson said. A more serious effort to make Three Hour Nap into a stallion will be made next year, when there is more time for find the best spot for him, according to Robertson.

Kid Soup looks like public choice

The Monday feature at Hawthorne is race 5, a six-furlong entry-level allowance race also open to $50,000 claimers, and restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Only six were entered, and Kid Soup looks like the likely favorite, since her record boasts a 2 3/4-length maiden win at Keeneland last fall.