01/07/2010 12:00AM

Three can slow Happy Humor's roll


Happy Humor's winning streak will be tested Saturday, when he meets Black Hills, Riley Tucker, and Song of Navarone in a deep edition of the $50,000 Winsham Lad at Sunland Park.

"The race is so tough," said trainer Jon Arnett, who has sent out Happy Humor to win his last three starts, including back-to-back stakes. "For a $50,000 race, I wouldn't have thought it would have come up this tough."

Riley Tucker spent most of last year running in graded stakes in New York, and Black Hills won the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship in his last start Dec. 6. Song of Navarone, meanwhile, leads the Winsham Lad field in earnings with $745,358.

Happy Humor is rising up the ranks, though. He won six of 10 starts in 2009, including three straight since September, when he won a seven-furlong allowance at the Downs at Albuquerque by two lengths. Happy Humor returned in his next start to win the $35,000 Budweiser Special at Albuquerque, and won the $50,000 KLAQ Handicap last month at Sunland. The three wins came at one turn, and he will be making a rare start at two turns in the one-mile Winsham Lad.

"This race will answer a question that we've been asking, if he can run the mile," said Arnett. "I really think he will, if he will just rate for us. He's a big, stout horse, real aggressive."

Happy Humor won at two turns in February, taking a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at SunRay Park. A son of Distorted Humor, he will break from post 6 on Saturday. Travis Wales has the mount for owner Gary Thompson.

Riley Tucker is moving back to two turns for the first time since March. In his best recent effort, he finished fourth going a mile in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill on Nov. 6. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has gone 8 for 18 at Sunland, has given the mount to Luis Contreras.

Song of Navarone won the Winsham Lad last year en route to a sweep of Sunland's series for older route horses. He also accounted for the $50,000 Curribot at the track and the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap. In his last start, Song of Navarone was third in the Zia Park Distance Championship.