08/30/2004 11:00PM

Three Hour Nap rising in the juvenile ranks

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CHICAGO - Rocky River easily won the Spectacular Bid Stakes, but his was not the only noteworthy performance by a 2-year-old on Sunday at Arlington.

Earlier in the afternoon, a Steve Asmussen-trained filly named Fi won a maiden sprint race by eight lengths, and even more impressive was Three Hour Nap, who remained unbeaten with a powerful win in a one-mile allowance race. Three Hour Nap improved to 2-2 with a 2 1/2-length win over the filly Mary Alex, who also ran well in defeat. Like Rocky River, Three Hour Nap is headed to the Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sept. 19, barring a physical setback.

Three Hour Nap is owned by the Homewrecker Racing Stable and Hugh Robertson and trained by Robertson, and his early success has not been a surprise.

"I always liked him," Robertson said. "We thought he looked the best of the 2-year-olds all along."

Three Hour Nap is by Afternoon Deelites and out of a Pilgrim mare, which is not a pedigree for flashy speed. Three Hour Nap won his July 23 debut at 5 1/2 furlongs in spite of the distance, not because of it. Sunday, stretching out to a one-turn mile, he raced close to a sluggish pace and finished strongly, running his final furlong in about 12 seconds.

"The mile might have been short for him," Robertson said. "He might be better at a mile and an eighth. He's a big, good-looking horse, and he's always trained like he'd want to go farther. He reels off those twelves [12-second furlongs] and never slows down."

Three Hour Nap returns to the racetrack Wednesday morning, and Robertson will assess the colt's status in the coming days before committing to the Futurity.

Another horse likely for the Futurity is Santana Strings, second to Rocky River in the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid. Trainer Tom Tomillo said Tuesday that Santana Strings might not have been fit enough to run his best at the distance last weekend.

Departing Now, third in the Spectacular Bid, is out of training with an unspecified injury, according to trainer Becky Maker.

"He got hurt in the race," Maker said. "He's going to need 90 days off, and he'll miss the fall."

Wiggins returns to West Virginia

Sure, there's no place like home. But if you can't stay home, perhaps there's no place like West Virginia.

In search of a suitable local spot, trainer Tony Granitz sent Wiggins to Mountaineer Park, where he won the $100,000 Governor's Handicap on Aug. 7. And it is back to West Virginia for Wiggins, who will probably make his next start there in the $75,000 Fall Handicap, Granitz said Tuesday. If he does, then Wiggins, an Illinois-bred, will run into another Arlington-based horse, the Claiming Crown Jewel winner Intelligent Male.

"I wish there was something here for him," Granitz said. "There's an Illinois-bred race for $42,000, but I think we're going for the other one."

Wiggins has not worked since his solid win in the Governor's, but Granitz has him penciled in for a Wednesday breeze.

"We freshened him up for a couple weeks," he said.

False Promises, a turf horse trained by Granitz, finally came back to form with a second to Herculated in the Sea o'Erin Handicap, also on Aug. 7. The goal for False Promises, Granitz said, is the Robert Carey Handicap at Hawthorne, but False Promises is running back here Saturday in a $50,000 overnight race at 1 1/2 miles on grass.

Turf switch has sparked Relicon

The highest-class race on Thursday's nine-race program is the seventh, an entry-level turf allowance for Illinois-bred fillies and mares. Little separates the top contenders here, but it is difficult to look past Relicon, a daughter of Breeders' Cup Turf winner Prized who has come to hand since switching from dirt to turf.

Relicon, trained by Christine Janks, moved forward July 22 in her turf debut, finishing third, and missed by a nose three weeks ago despite breaking from a detrimental outside post. She has a better draw Thursday and can outkick Badaboom, the potential lone speed, and three other logical contenders - Tuffted, Discounted, and Pleasant Sands.