don’t sleep on Three Hour Nap!

Illinois racing, and particularly Illinois-bred racing, can be a game of niche angles.  One of those angles centers around an Illinois stallion named Three Hour Nap.  Despite having a relatively small number of foals so far, their ability to win early in their careers has made him prominent.

The cleverly named son of Afternoon Deelites was precocious in his own right.  He won his first three starts, including the 2004 Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII), for local trainer Hugh Robertson.  He won three more times over this three- and four-year-old years, including a win in the 2006 National Jockey Club Handicap (GIII) at age four.  He broke his right foreleg in the Washington Park Handicap (GII) later that summer, though he healed well enough after surgery to return to the races the next year.  After a pair of off-the-board finishes at age five, he was retired to stud.

Three Hour Nap has stood stud in Illinois since 2008.  According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Thoroughbred Stallion Directory, Three Hour Nap currently stands for $1,000 live foal at Oak Tree Farm in West Frankfort, IL.

Friday’s Arlington fourth, a maiden special weight for two-year-old Illinois-breds, presented a conundrum: two Three Hour Nap babies in the same race.  Knowing that his get tend to be precocious, this opened up the question of whether there were any other trends among his progeny — any trends to refine further from the fact that his babies are precocious.

Three Hour Nap’s first-out win rate is a robust 27%, but as is typical for a stallion standing in Illinois, the sample size is small.  So far he has had 22 foals of racing age to be documented in Illinois Thoroughbred foal reports, with 21 of those foals having been named.  15 have raced so far, and 11 have won.

Four have won first time out.  Three have done so at age two (Family Icon, Super Nova, Anna’s Alibi), with another doing so at three (Doze).  All four of those first-out winners were trained by Hugh Robertson at the time they broke their maiden.  The one Three Hour Nap baby who graduated second out, so far, was also trained by Hugh Robertson: Ally’s Dream, a full sister to Anna’s Alibi, who graduated second out at age two.

Below is a full look at Three Hour Nap’s recorded progeny, noting name, dam, year foaled, sex, and various characteristics of their maiden win (track, surface, date, age of horse when they graduated, how many starts it took them to graduate, trainer of record).

Given the small sample size, it is hard to say a lot with certainty.  All of the winners have broken their maiden over the main track, either dirt or polytrack.  All but one have graduated going a sprint distance, despite Three Hour Nap’s general proclivity toward routing.

The instinct to give a bit more weight to the Three Hour Nap babies coming from the Robertson barn has been a solid one so far.  Still, that could also be a function of most of his starters (11 of 15) having been trained by Robertson. Out of the 11 winners by Three Hour Nap so far, nine graduated under Robertson.  Doug Matthews had third-out winner Stop Tripping, and Chris Dorris had fourth-out winner Kiss’n Rosie.

Then again, of the four Three Hour Nap progeny to have started but not won yet, two ran for Robertson, and two ran for Leo Rodriguez.

It is a Robertson runner and a Rodriguez runner who face off in a full Illinois-bred maiden field on Friday, a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the polytrack.

Robertson’s Three Hour Nap baby, a gelding named Mister McGehee, started once before.  He finished a well-beaten seventh in a five-furlong polytrack dash on September 10, though only missed third by two lengths.  The extra distance should help.  There is also some precocity underneath, as well as on top — Mister McGehee is full to Doze, who graduated first out for Robertson, albeit at age three.

Rodriguez’s Three Hour Nap baby, Runningfromthefeds, debuts in Friday’s race.  The bottom side of the pedigree doesn’t suggest quite as much precocity.  His half-brother Stevie Smoothboy missed the board in three starts at two, and half-sister Kana finally got her picture taken fifth time out at age three.  Furthermore, Rodriguez has not been the strongest in maiden races.  He has only won with one of his last twelve first-timers, and one of his last twenty-five maiden special weight runners.

Between the two Three Hour Nap babies in Friday’s race, Mister McGehee holds more appeal on both pedigree and trainer factors.  That said, he will still need to take a big step forward to topple Small Fortune, so watch the tote and demand a price.

For beyond Friday, remember the name Just Zip It.  This is a two-year-old colt out of Zipped Again, unraced but currently active on the Arlington worktab.  He is out of a mare, Zipped Again, who won first time out for Hugh Robertson.  This makes it likely that Just Zip It will turn up for Robertson when he passes the entry box.  If he does, take a long look.  If the workouts before the race look good, if he has his head together in the paddock, if he turns up going short on the main track…don’t sleep on him.

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