Updated on 09/17/2011 5:33PM

Three Hour Nap wakes up, Culinary cooks

David Zenner
Three Hour Nap prevails between horses to win the Grade 3 $200,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity in a blanket three-horse finish by a neck over Elusive Chris and Straight Line, who dead-heated for second.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Three Hour Nap had raced only twice, but he won the like a seasoned horse, grinding out the final furlong for a neck victory over Elusive Chris and Straight Line, who dead-heated for second.

Rocky River, the 3-5 favorite, was uncontrollable on the early pace, running off and tiring to finish fourth in the Grade 3, $200,000 Futurity on closing day at Arlington. Three Hour Nap, who raced in fourth behind a fast pace, rallying on the far turn, paid $8.20 to win, running a one-turn mile in a modest 1:38.56.

Three Hour Nap won for the third time in three starts, but might be finished for the year. Hugh Robertson, who trains the colt and owns him in partnership with Ron Rashinski's Homewrecker Racing, believes Three Hour Nap might do his best racing around two turns next year. He said there was a slight chance Three Hour Nap could make the Breeders' Futurity next month at Keeneland.

But the colt has done a lot in a brief time, winning a five-and-one-half furlong maiden race July 23, and a one-mile allowance five weeks later. And he had to work hard to win the Futurity, battling with a game Elusive Chris, who had disputed the pace from the inside, and Straight Line, who rallied from the back of the field.

Rocky River dragged jockey Chris Emigh to the lead, going a quarter-mile in 22.99 seconds and a half-mile in a taxing 45.34. "He just wore himself out today," Emigh said.

Three Hour Nap and Eddie Razo Jr. waited behind, and coming off the turn, they had the momentum. But Elusive Chris dug in as Straight Line rallied on the outside, and the three horses hit the wire together.

Culinary takes the Lassie

Culinary easily made the jump from maiden to graded-stakes competition, winning the Grade 3, $100,000 by two lengths on Sunday.

There was no question that Culinary had won her debut easily: She stomped six maidens here Aug. 12 by 11 lengths. But Culinary ran a mile that day in a pedestrian 1:41.40, and when an intended allowance race failed to fill, Culinary came into the Lassie off works alone.

But they were strong ones. After an in-company breeze Sept. 2, jockey Carlos Marquez told trainer Mike Stidham that Culinary had a great shot to win the Lassie. Indeed, Culinary looked stronger Sunday than she had in her debut, dragging Marquez from the back of the field in the opening yards to fourth place at the half-mile pole, as Mary Alex ran an opening quarter-mile in 23.74 seconds. The half-mile went in 47.01, and turning for home, Culinary had a full head of steam. Culinary changed leads on cue and was on her way, easily staving off Runway Model, who had more than three lengths on Kota.

This time, Culinary ran fast, getting one mile in 1:36.98, 1.58 seconds quicker than Three Hour Nap's winning time in the Futurity. Overlooked in the betting, Culinary paid $16 to win.

Stidham, who trains Culinary for Jack Smith III Thoroughbreds, said there were no set plans for the filly.

"We had no idea how we'd fit in this one, so we couldn't look beyond it," Stidham said.

The time for that is now.