Workin for Hops, second to Paddy O'Prado in last month's Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIT), aims for his first graded stakes win in the $200,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) on the Million Preview program at Arlington Park July 17.
Owned by Estrorace and trained by Michael Stidham, the 3-year-old City Zip gelding is among a nine-horse field of sophomores that includes recent Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) winner Gleam of Hope. The 1 3/16-mile American Derby is the second leg of the "Mid-America Triple" and is also the final major local stakes prep for the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT), which is on the Arlington Million program Aug. 21.
Workin for Hops won the first leg, the Arlington Classic, in gate-to-wire fashion as the favorite by 2 1/4 lengths over Alfarabi. Gleam of Hope ran third.
The American Derby is the eighth race on the program with a probable post of 3:53 p.m. CDT. The 1-2-3 finishers of the American Derby will have their entry and starting fees waived should they return for the Secretariat. The American Derby, one of three local stakes preps on the Arlington program, follows the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares and precedes the $150,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT).
With wins in the American Derby and the Secretariat, Workin for Hops would become just the fourth to sweep Arlington's turf series for 3-year-olds and the first since Honor Glide in 1997.
A winner of four of seven starts with two seconds and earnings of $240,976, Workin for Hops will reunite with his Arlington Classic-winning rider Robby Albarado for the American Derby.
In his final tuneup, Workin for Hops breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 over the Arlington Polytrack July 11.
"We tried to get him focused on finishing fast," said Stidham. "We started him off slow but had him finish fast. He got the last quarter in :23 3/5 and (he) galloped out another pole in 12 and change."
Workin for Hops drew post 7 and will have the late-running Gleam of Hope to his outside.
The latter, to be ridden by E.T. Baird for trainer Tony Reinstedler, rallied from last to take the Jefferson Cup by a half length over a good Churchill Downs turf course June 12. The victory was the first in a graded stakes for Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Asbury's homebred, also a son of City Zip. Gleam of Hope has four wins in 11 races and earnings of $258,219.
Asphalt has been solid in all five of his starts in 2010, though he has just one win, in a first-level allowance, among them. The War Chant colt, trained by Eddie Kenneally for owner Joseph Riccelli, ran third in the Jefferson Cup while beaten by just 1 1/4 lengths. His prior try, in the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT), also at Churchill, produced a second to Doubles Partner by 1 3/4 lengths. Julien Leparoux, who was aboard in the American Turf, regains the mount.
Dean's Kitten won the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) on Polytrack at Turfway Park for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker prior to a 14th-place finish after a rough beginning in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But most of his prior efforts had been on the turf. He returned to the grass in the Colonial Turf Cup and finished fifth.
Peachtree Stable's Marcello, previously trained by Bob Baffert, makes his first start for trainer Wayne Catalano. Second in the one-mile Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park turf in November, the Johannesburg colt has not been out since a sixth-place finish in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 6.
Dream Nettie, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won the nine-furlong La Puente Stakes over the Santa Anita lawn April 10. He was most recently fifth in the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park June 20, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.
$200,000 American Derby (gr. IIT, Race 8, 3:53 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 3/16 MIles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Formulaforsuccess (KY), J Alvarado, 119, J P Pucek
2. Asphalt (FL), J R Leparoux, 119, E Kenneally
3. Marcello (KY), C S Nakatani, 119, W M Catalano
4. Mint Chip (KY), J Graham, 119, G R Arnold, II
5. Dream Nettie (KY), J L Castanon, 121, J Hollendorfer
6. Dean's Kitten (KY), R Bejarano, 126, M J Maker
7. Workin for Hops (KY), R Albarado, 121, M Stidham
8. Gleam of Hope (KY), E T Baird, 121, A L Reinstedler
9. Mister Marti Gras (KY), E E Perez, 126, C M Block