04/22/2006 12:00AM

Three Hour Nap takes NJC Cap

Four Footed Fotos
Three Hour Nap comes up the rail under Francisco Torres to beat Summer Book by one length in the National Jockey Club Handicap on Saturday at Hawthorne Race Course.

STICKNEY, Ill. - Three Hour Nap might have been the last horse to win a graded stakes for trainer Hugh Robertson. Robertson wasn't exactly sure about that. Which is exactly the kind of trainer Hugh Robertson appears to be, focused on the mundane details of teaching racehorses lessons, keeping them healthy, rather than the last time a spotlight shined his way.

But it is safe to say Three Hour Nap is Robertson's most recent graded stakes winner. He came up the rail under Francisco Torres and beat Summer Book by one length in the Grade 3, $250,000 on Saturday afternoon at Hawthorne Race Course. The victory, game, solid if not especially fast, brought Three Hour Nap back to the same form he showed two years ago at 2, when he captured the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington.

The well-regarded New York invaders, Colita at even money and Evening Attire at 7-2, brought up the rear of the 1 1/8-mile NJC, which Three Hour Nap won with a time of 1:52.48, paying $12.40. Colita never got out of a strong gallop, racing last all the way around, while Grade 1 winner Evening Attire was surprisingly close to the early pace, but lacked a strong closing move and wound up fifth.

Torres, 36, who raced regularly in Chicago in the 1990's, made a return to the city of his birth, winning with his first mount here Friday after coming back from suspension, injury, and a stint in the Middle East the last several years. He kept Three Hour Nap right on the heels of eventual third-place finisher Courthouse, Summer Book, and Nkosi Reigns, who set slow fractions, including a half-mile in 48.94 seconds. Three Hour Nap had to take back a little past the half-mile pole, winding up in a tight spot on the far turn.

"I thought a couple times we were going down," Robertson said.

But Torres swung to the inside and found room on the rail when Courthouse drifted out.

"That's the way he ran for me when he won last time at [Oaklawn]," Torres said.

Three Hour Nap twice had a fracture in his lower leg, one reason he has raced only 11 times, and early last season he came down with what Robertson described as "a terrible lung infection."

Robertson won this race in 1998 with local legend Polar Expedition. Three Hour Nap has a long way to go to reach that class, but he is on his way again now.

Sixty Sails: Fleet Indian romps

Heavily favored Fleet Indian made short work of her seven rivals in the , winning the Grade 3, $250,000 race by 12 1/2 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the race last year with Isola Piu Bella. In fact, Fleet Indian's, winning time of 1:49.37 for 1 1/8 miles was more than three seconds faster than Three Hour Nap ran winning the National Jockey Club Handicap two races earlier.

Winning is what Fleet Indian does. A 5-year-old New York-bred purchased at auction last January by Paul Saylor, Fleet Indian now has chalked up 9 victories in 14 career starts, most of them for trainer Jimmy Toner. She now has won four straight races, including two

Grade 3's, since Pletcher took over her training.

Tappin for Gold rushed up out of the gate to try for the lead outside Fleet Indian, who left well under Jose Santos, but Tappin for Gold never cleared, and Fleet Indian held her position on the inside. Fleet Indian took the lead at about the half-mile pole, went easily around the turn, and widened her lead through the stretch.

"Those kind of horses you just make sure you don't fall off," Santos said.

Fleet Indian paid $3.40 to win. Silver Highlight finished second, with Platinum Ballet third.